back to article Court slaps UK BitTorrenters with landmark damages award

The Central London County Court has ordered four BitTorrent users to pay a video games company £750 interim damages following a landmark victory by no win, no fee copyright lawyers. The final damages could run to £2,000, plus costs of up to £1,500, the Evening Standard reports. The decision will cause salivating among …

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  1. Gordon Pryra

    I can't wait for one of these cases to actually come to court

    Especially as the main offenders would be kids under the age of 16

    They would obviously have to be very young, no one with any sense would have botherd downloading that POS

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Fines were too small, otherwise good news

    I hope this becomes commonplace. Piracy is theft and it hurts the IP owners and everyone involved in the development, distribution and sales process, especially the smaller players and micro ISVs. I've heard the tired arguements about people wouldn't buy it anyway so it's cost nothing to the developers and how people would just use a free alternative instead. Well, guess what - by pirating commercial software, you're also hurting the makers freeware by not adopting their products!

    I'll doubtless be flamed by small-minded, selfish thieves. I couldn't care less about their criminal opinions.

  3. Adam Foxton
    Thumb Up

    At Least

    They only want them to pay up the once. That's playing fair. The RIAA would rather they paid up 10 times per song along with a number of consecutive life and death sentences and an infinite fine on everyone from their town or who shared their forename. Even if they were dead. Oh, and the corpses would be branded "THIEF" and then ridden hard by the same people who are riding the bloated carcass of their current business models.

    Meh, they downloaded a £9 game, they got charged £700- enough to ensure that you'd think twice before doing it again, not enough to drive most people into ridiculous amounts of despair and poverty. So the chances of them reoffending has been limited without taking a sledgehammer to their rights, lives or to common sense.

    Thumbs up relative to the other copyright cases in recent memory.

  4. gothicform
    Thumb Down

    Whatever happened to established case law?

    Irvine vs Talksport established this supposedly once and for all. The judgement in the case says that "It is clear from Lord Wilberforce�s speech in General Tire that a reasonable endorsement fee in the context of the instant case must represent the fee which, on a balance of probabilities, TSL would have had to pay in order to obtain lawfully that which it in fact obtained unlawfully (see in particular the passage from the judgment of Fletcher Moulton J in the Aluminium case, quoted by Lord Wilberforce). It is not the fee which TSL could have afforded to pay: hence the judge was correct to conclude (in paragraph 16 of the second judgment) that TSL�s financial situation is irrelevant. "

    Meanwhile...

    "The level of damages indicates UK judges are sympathetic to the view that copyright infringment via peer to peer networks can cause greater damage to rights holders than the retail cost of their product, because the number of times it has been shared by an individual is unknown."

    The article says that it costs £8.99 which tells us that the average has been distributed a whole 55 times in its entirety???? Are we honestly expected to believe that the average bittorrent user could have uploaded a total of 37.5 gigabytes of this game, particularly with upload speeds in the UK being less than the download speeds?

    I should make this argument every time a company nicks one of my photographs and then sticks it on the internet. After-all, there's no way of telling how many thousand people download it then from the website without permission and then reuse it elsewhere but courts would never agree to that so I can only claim the license fee even though it's a commercial, not non commercial copyright infringement.

    Can someone please fix our legal system so that either commercial copyright infringement is treated worse than file sharing, or file sharing is treated better. I don't care which as long as they are proportionate.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    a bit steep

    so they could be looking at a £3.5k fine for an £8.99 game? how does that work then?

  6. Colin Millar
    Go

    Ambulance chasing lawyers & freetards

    They deserve each other

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Proven technology?

    I used to knock a few bits of software off, but this stuff is finally having an effect on me. I don't bother anymore, it's not worth risk getting caught either actually doing it or getting caught in a net when you're completely innocent and have to waste time and money proving your innocence. Somehow, over the last 10 years, the law seems to have been changed from "innocent unless proven guilty" to "guilty until proven innocent".

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    How long before...

    ... the Davenport Lyons servers get rooted?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    An interesting defence

    would be to prove your upload/download ratio, and the number of users that connected to you. if for the sake of argument you set your prefered torrent client to only accept one in coming user, and you set the upload limit sufficiently low, then couldn't you argue hypothetically that you shared half the game to two people and thus should only pay a £16 fine + costs?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >a bit steep & Case Law

    It's a 2K fine, there are 1.5k costs which represent the expense of bringing the case (lawyers etc).

    The damage is not the rights to one copy of the game, it is because they have taken rights beyond the normal licensing. Which would normally carry a greater price tag than £8.99. Not 55 uploads, the _right to upload_.

    >I should make this argument every time a company nicks one of my photographs and then sticks it on the internet.

    Indeed you should, by the looks of it, it'd cost about 1.5 grand for a decent solicitor.

    Ideally always put a price tag on your photo's (so you can demonstrate the value, keep it sane) and water mark them to prove they're yours.

    It's a shame no defence was offered, the costs seem excessive, there's a strong argument that the damage is more like £10 rather than £2K, and the insecure router defence needs testing in court.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ fines were too small

    Try looking up some facts! What we're discussing here is copyright infringement.

    As pointed out in the article, you need a boat to be commiting piracy and you cannot steal something that is not there. If they'd taken the CD/DVD from a shop, that would be theft but a download has no substance and cannot be stolen.

    Just because copyright infringement is wrong, does not mean the methods employed by these leeches are acceptable. The sooner they're made to prove their case in court, the better. It would only take someone marginally technically savvy to tie this up for so long that their fees go out the window and there;'s no guarantee they'd win.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Criminal opinions

    Anon Coward: "I'll doubtless be flamed by small-minded, selfish thieves. I couldn't care less about their criminal opinions."

    That's OK - I couldn't care less about yours either :)

    No flaming - just pity.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC a bit steep

    It woerks like this.

    Topware Interactive £8.99

    Davemport Lyons £3491.01

    How else?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: AC @ 13:54

    Is that the best you could do. I've seen more tempting bait skwered on a fish hook.

  15. Daniel Grey
    Unhappy

    Surely...

    ...the 1689 Bill of Rights comes into act here (the UK one, not the USA one) that prevents "cruel and unusual punishment" or "freedom of fines and forfeitures without trial*"? I assume that a £3.5k punishment for a £9 offence is unusual?

    *I am sure that the Prosecution received confirmation from the Defence that they contest the crime but chose not to appear therefore this doesn't strictly apply... they did, didn't they?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    seeding ratio

    I wonder what the fine would be if you could prove that your seeding ratio was, let's say, 1.0 -- so one copy of the downloaded file was uploaded from your computer?

  17. Aron A Aardvark

    Naive kids and parents pay the price

    Gordon Pyra, in case you didn't read the article, the case did come to court but the defendants didn't show up. It wasn't a criminal prosecution therefore the age of the defendants is irrelevant. Bad luck again kids!

    As mummy and daddy will no doubt be lumbered with paying damages and costs, perhaps disconnecting the kid's bedroom internet link would be a good idea.

    But until the vast IT community comes to understand that file "sharing" other people's work is wrong, this problem will continue. These people are petty criminals in the same ilk as shoplifters. There is no moral or legal defence for this. Bring on the flaming!

  18. peter

    One more thing

    How do they obtain a court order with evidence such as

    [user agent, timestamp, file name, IP address].

  19. Scott

    Confused

    I still don't get how they can prove what it was you down loaded by the filename? If i down load the Simpsons movie but it turns out to be 3 weddings and a funeral who gets to sue me?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Absolutely

    Buy a pirate copy off Ebay for £2 and get off scot free or download it and pay £3K? I'll take Ebay thanks.

  21. JimC

    @gothicform

    Your logic doesn't quite work - the point about the filesharing is that a large number of copies have been pirated. It's more analgous to a company nicking your photo and then including it in a distribution of their product...

    I imagine you charge a different price for one print of your photo as compared to the right to use it on a public website...

  22. Aron A Aardvark

    Sophistry ahoy!

    "you cannot steal something that is not there"

    Can you steal electricity? I believe you can be convicted for that form of theft.

    However, they were not being prosecuted under the Theft Acts. This was a civil case, not a criminal one. The claimant sought and was awarded damages. There was no prosecution, defence or possible jail time at stake.

    The claimant would have a tougher time in court if the defendant turned up to defend themselves. That speaks volumes about the strength of their case.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Hmmm

    Strikes me that this is the least nasty end of the "make the punishment really severe and hope it acts as a deterrent" stick. Which is a bit of a crap notion, unless considered from the perspective of trying to protect the interests of the UK as a whole by protecting the interests of IP holders and enforcing those rights through punitive damages. (An arguable motivation, but given the transition of UK business towards the creative industries it's a notion that makes a certain amount of sense).

    I'm not too keen on this, chiefly because the law should be about converting criminals into functional members of society, not about punitively recovering piracy-related losses from individuals. In this case it's not too bad, but as a general principle I question the value of putting individuals into massive debt as a means of preventing re-offending. (Sure, they might be careful not to fileshare in future but can we guarantee they won't end up turning to other forms of crime in desperation? Or do we not care about that because protecting IP is the only issue we're considering right now?)

  24. Steve Kay

    To the AC

    Do please elaborate on the harm to freeware developers. If I choose to nick a VLK copy of Windows from the office, I'd love to know how I'm screwing up ReactOS.

    I appreciate your point, but - quite correctly - under nobody's laws is breaching copyright identified as theft. Theft deprives the owner of the right to enjoy something - see under pretty much everyone's statute books.

    Calling it `piracy` is an insult to those murdered at sea by real, proper, machine-gun wielding pirates, who kill, rape, and maim, in order to steal. Face a real pirate, 500 miles from land, with no effective means of defending yourself, then draw a comparison to someone warezing your poxy software.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do you expect if the defendant doesn't turn up?

    Previous case law is only relevant if the defendants turn up and point it out to the court. If the software company gives some evidence of the size of its supposed loss, and the court has no evidence to the contrary, and no-one to argue against it, then the company gets what it asked for. Such is the nature of the adversarial system.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They aren't fines

    This is a civil case for damages, not a criminal one. What the court has ordered the filesharers to pay is damages (and costs) - not a fine.

    And that's where I have a problem with this. If you take someone to court to seek damages you have to show that a specific financial loss has occurred, and that the loss is the fault or responsibility of the party from whom you seek damages. So if I buy a washing machine which has an electrical fault which causes a fire that burns down my house, in order to be awarded damages I've got to be able to show that is was the washing machine that caused the fire.

    How do you demonstrate that someone filesharing has caused x copies of your copyrighted work to be downloaded? How can you prove that they caused you ANY financial loss at all?

    If it was a fine, then that's the court saying "you were guilty of a criminal offence, here's your punishment," which is fair enough. In this case, the court is saying, "you caused the plaintiff to suffer a financial loss, so you will compensate them by paying £x". Whatever this might turn out to be, it's a lot of copies at £8.99 each if you take £750 as a starting point.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "No money down" vs "no win no fee"

    Notice the solicitor is the driver for this, they're the ones seeking out people they can portray as victims in court....

    I reckon that the whole 'no win no fee' is the problem again. I would prefer 'no money down' replace 'no win no fee'.

    So a plaintiff can sue, even if they don't have money, but if they lose they pay the costs. So they won't bring lawsuits unless they REALLY have damages they want redressed, and the lawyer won't take the case unless the case REALLY has merit and he's likely to win.

    It would stem these frivolous lawsuits.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Gordon Pryra

    "I can't wait for one of these cases to actually come to court"

    Read the article; it did come to court, the accused didn't bother to turn up to defend themselves and the court found against them!

    The actual offenders might be kids under the age of 16, but the persons taken to court would be adults (probably the parents/legal guardians) as you can't get a broadband subscription if you're under 18 (check the small print, technically it's a credit agreement).

    So the following advice applies:

    Parents, check what your kids are up to, you might end up paying for it!

    Freetards: read your mail, it might be important!

  29. Simon Aspinall

    Commence the Attacks

    On this companies network by disgruntled script kiddies.

    LOL

  30. JimS

    Burden of proof

    I personally would have turned up and asked them to prove how much data was shared. The burden of proof is on who ever is doing the accusing correct? So they'd have to have data that proved *how much* you shared??

    Or has UK law being bastardised so much that people are now guilty until proven innocent?

  31. Steve

    @ Sophistry ahoy!

    invisible != non-existant

    Using energy prevents anyone else using it and you are therefore depriving somebody of something. That is why you can be convicted of theft.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £9 offence? whats the true cost of the loss?

    Now i'm all up for software writers getting due recompense for their efforts, but my issue is that if i download something for free, does that immediately mean that i would have bought it if it weren't freely available?! My guess is that these miscreants would never have bought it, but hey if they get it free... in which case surely the damages is zero! I'm sure the music industry have made a significant sum from those who download something they've never heard of, then subsequently buy it.

    as for me, if i get it free, it may influence a business purchase further down the line. If i don't then i'll probably never buy it, never see it and never give a toss. Lets not forget that m$ world dominance came from win98 being freely available/copyable!!! IMHO bittorrent/filesharing is a clever marketing tool if used right!

  33. Alex

    Injustice

    Unsurprisingly, the court found in favour of the plaintiff in the absence of the defendants. The injustice was that they were almost certainly innocent of illegally downloading Dream Pinball 3D. Reasoning being as follows:

    It's Dream Pinball 3D, ffs.

  34. alistair millington
    Thumb Up

    its actually being sold for 8.99

    lol, people are buying that game.... It's free in vista.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How do you show that x copies of your work has been downloaded?

    It's not the number of copies though, it's the _right_ to distribute the work, that is to give it away on bit torrent.

    2K Seems reasonable for that.

  36. Edward Rose

    @Proven technology?

    Don't you mean:

    Innocent until proven guilty

    Guilty unless proven innocent

    You need to take more care, innocent unless proven guilty has never existed (witch hunts always have), and the latter comment of yours implies the person WILL be proven innocent, which give the general theme of my post, I'm not holding out on that one.

    Although I don't approve of illegal greed I hope they are only targeting people who keep the games etc up for uploading and do actually rack up comparable seed ratios (against fines). Face it, they are the ones who can afford faster/bigger broadband, they can afford the fines more. Else, if you only have a seed ~1 then I'd recommend writing a very friendly letter, with a good bit of maths, in their favour. Plus an offer of say an extra £30 for the hassle of them having to write the letters. But, remember to be honest and willing to fight in court. Should keep the cost <£100 and should keep them happy (okay, 2 licenses + letter is closer to £50, but try and keep them sweet eh).

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    *Cough*

    PeerGuardian *cough*

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stealing electricity?

    The offence is actually 'Abstracting electricity' which returns us to the fact that you cannot steal something that has no substance. My previous comment was aimed at the previous AC that screamed 'Theft!'

    As for being the penalties being awarded by a court. The solicitors still have not proved their case as it was undefended and therefore just a rubber stamp exercise.

  39. Someone
    Thumb Down

    I don’t even use BitTorrent*, but would probably pay

    I’d pay £750 rather than have the prospect of a judge agreeing with Davenport Lyons that I must hand over all my hard disks and other storage media, and therefore a very great chunk of my life, for forensic examination. I assume the court would expect all my encryption keys be handed over also, with refusal meaning almost certain victory for Davenport Lyons.

    *or any other P2P software, apart from Kontiki that powers iPlayer, etc.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @JimC

    actually gothicform's logic /does/ work. if someone nicks an image off his site and sticks it on theirs, every visitor has 'downloaded' a copy to their PC (remember, a copy in your cache is still a copy).

    @ the AC saying you can't steal nonmaterial stuff... find out what "dematerialised" means with respect to securities, money and shares.

    @the guy saying its civil so kids tough luck - er not quite; children have a sliding-scale of responsibility based on age. Lawyers would be SOL trying to sue a 5-year-old but a 15-year-old would be fair game.

    As for the original tale, the damages are outrageous and would probably be overturned on appeal. The costs, unfortunately, will have to be eaten due to the no-show.

  41. fred
    Joke

    download haven

    "some of the net users accused of infringing Codermasters' copyright last year received more than half a dozen separate demands for cash" and probably deleted these automatically as these might have been marked as SPAM!

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Blah blah blah..

    Pirates deserve jail... Sue everyone to hell and back! You have no rights..! No such thing as unfair... Blah Blah! BLAH!

    Whatever. Idiots. As someone pointed out court cases external to software/media downloads have historically required proof of damages/loss. What proof would be required here? Probably none as they don't seem to understand what the real value is.

    Putting a value of the item as its value of the right to re-sale would assumedly also mean a transaction would take place with the reseller taking profit, not just passing it on.

    I'd be willing to bet these guys went US StylinZ by suing people as they were probably near best and this was a way to getcashquick! without actually having to have a decent product.

    But yeah lets say all the downloaders spread say 10 copies each, thats 10x9, $90!, not bloody 2-4k! That's the only loss i'd consider 'acceptable' as a penalty for illegal redistribution. But as others pointed out whose to say they'd have bought it anyhow, the revenue of the company may have not have changed regardless? And what if of those X number who downloaded it, Y then went and bought it, that means they are actually profiting from that sharing!

    Anyhow if you disagree with this you are being pedantic and disregarding perspective, but either way, rock on!

  43. gothicform

    More case law

    "I imagine you charge a different price for one print of your photo as compared to the right to use it on a public website..."

    Yes however if you need to read NOTTINGHAMSHIRE HEALTHCARE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE TRUST vs NEWS GROUP NEWSPAPERS LTD.

    If someone takes a photo and sticks it on a website they are then distributing it to numerous different people, each of which is an individual infringement according to this judgement. This judgement indicates that with the internet, because you cannot tell how much something has been distributed, you should get a multiple of the typical fee.

    My own experiences though in court from suing people for doing precisely this is that this is not solid case law. The judge who decided these damages has made a huge huge mistake as a result.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Reviews of Dream Pinball 3D

    "What would be your dream pinball game? If it's a handful of generic tables with poor ball and flipper physics, SouthPeak games just made your dream come true"

    "Dream Pinball 3D fails at reproducing realistic physics, rendering it pretty much useless. Even if the player was given a sense of the weight of the ball and the flippers reacted like they should, you'd still have some pretty generic tables. There are many, better pinball games available for the PC. This is a dream you probably don't need to follow."

    etc...

    Is it really a surprise they are stooping to sueing people when their game suxs this badly??

  45. Bounty

    @ JonB

    I don't recall having to pay for a right to distribute... I don't think Walmart pays xxxSoft $3000 for the _right_ to sell Space Monkey Pinball 4. Are you talking about breaking the EULA or something?

    What is my comment worth? yeah..... -2 cents probably. Dream Pinball 3D?... probably about $10 + $400 (time, lawyers etc.) = $410 per case?

  46. ben

    If only they had waited for the review

    Disturbing as it may be, Dream Pinball 3D isn’t even worth a rental unless you’re some sort of diehard pinball fan. Even if you are, why the hell would you pay for this? There are better free pinball games out there. Even at a budget price, Dream Pinball feels like a ripoff. The interface is amatuer-ish. There are only six tables, and they’re basically identical (and identically bad). The themes are wacky, but they don’t justify the $20 price tag. I can’t even recommend it to those desperate for a pinball game. The Williams Collection that was recently released seems far better than this piece of shovelware.

    The defence team should have let the jury play it.

  47. Tony Barnes
    Flame

    No-one on here heard of retailer margins...?

    Why does everyone keep badgering on about how multiples of £9 are the appropriate compensation. That is the price a reseller is retailing at. The profit that the developer will receive from a sold unit is considerably less than that....

    Anyway, besides that any moron who actually ignores a court summons in this way deserves to lose their cash, and in honesty, I think that a few £k is a pretty damn cheap getaway.

    However, anyone who does get summoned to court should really hop along and ask just how their case can proceed when the evidence submitted to the court against them was illegally attained. Unless the police have a criminal investigation against an individual and have demanded information from the IP that they use, harvesting of IP addresses/information in this manner is a patent infringement on data protection, and doubtless human rights.

    My defence would therefore take on the offensive position of counter-suing the logi-wankers and the ambulance-lawyers for colluding in an illegal activity that was set to defame my good name. This may or may not be backed up by a request to the plod that they be investigated for such actions.

    Of course, this would develop into a paradox in which the police could then decide to legally attain your IP records, though how this could then be cross referenced against the illegally attained P2P logs, I don't know.... I'm not a lawyer.

  48. Steven Jones

    Civil vs Criminal law...

    I sometimes wonder about our education system. The number of people here who can't tell the difference between criminal and civil law...

    Firstly this is not a criminal case - it's a civil case. Civil cases are essentially arguments between private individuals or other "legal entities" that sue each other under the law of the land for damages. Cases are decided on the balance of probability and the loser isn't "found guilty". They are generally found liable. There is no assumption of innocence until proven guilty as there is no guilty verdict. You just lose the case, albeit that it might be through breaking an explicit law (as with copyright) or possibly just causing loss to somebody accidentally. Civil cases cannot land you in prison (although failing to follow the court's rulings could). Damages and are decided on the basis of compensation to the injured party - unlike the US, the UK does not have a system of punitive damages.

    The winners in this case would not have been entitled to received damages beyond the damage done to them. It doesn't matter if the product costs a penny or a thousand pounds, save that you'd have to prove the loss of a lot of penny sales. WIth nobody in court to challenge the basis of the damages, the method of calculation is, of course, untested. Note that this doesn't mean the judge has to agree to the damages - although they are likely to in this case. If the claim had been for a million pounds it would have been different. However, I'll guess that the level of damages requested was carefully judged by the plaintiffs to be a deterrent to others, but not so high as to warrant a defense given the loser would have to pay legal costs. That's quite a clever thing to do - it will have a few parents worried enough to start investigating what their kids are up to, not to mention those old enough to know better. However, it's not such a huge amount of money that it will attract massive adverse publicity or public sympathy.

    Criminal cases are different - there is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. That's something that is being eroded by this government by pseudo-judicial penalties being decided outside of the court system (e.g. barred from working in certain areas based on what might be deemed "intelligence" rather than a court verdict; in fact in some cases, despite a court verdict; but that's a different issue and that is where the slippery slope truly lies).

    For the most part copyright is not a criminal matter, although this is changing (partly through EU changes, partly through US pressure). Engage in wholesale commercial exploitation of copyright material, faking of products and you could find yourself up against a criminal charge. However, I don't see many of those affecting private individuals. No doubt somebody at some point in the future will raise a legal challenge to this type of case, probably on the reliability of the evidence. Possibly somebody will start a fighting fund (although be warned, contribute a large sum of money to the legal costs to fight a civil case and you can be deemed as being one of those jointly and individually liable for any damages as you can be seen to be part of the defendant's side; it has happened).

    Of course the civil law isn't fair - those with deep pockets can afford it better. Robert Maxwell essentially brow-beat any number of journalists by threatening legal action for libel. In general there is no legal aid for civil cases, and the costs can be hugely higher than criminal ones.

    As far as the principle is concerned, well I don't have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who was genuinely and knowingly involved in this sort of thing. It's dealing with other's intellectual property that, in many case has cost a lot of effort and time. I have some sympathy with those who complain about rip-off prices, but I think that's more an issue for failure in competition law.

  49. This post has been deleted by its author

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Hardly a landmark judgement

    when one party didn't turn up.

    It doesn't count as legal precedent for that reason.

  51. John Imrie
    Happy

    @alistair millington

    Yes, but you have to buy *Vista*

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    So what about...

    the old chessnut of 'lending' items.

    So I lend my mate a game/cd for their listening pleasure, once they play it am I guilty? If they copy it am I guilt? are they guilty? What's the boundary between sharing with friends and sharing with strangers?

    Clear as mud.

    So i give old dvds to my dad. Is that "piracy"? he's not paid for them. he would have purchased his own if i hadn't given them to him, am i stealing from the industry involved, or do i just think their product is so lame i end up giving it away, which is surely my right having purchased the original anyway??

    Some definition is required to say when copyright infringment occurs.

    Paris - because way confused...

    AC because my friend contributed so i don't want him to sue me...<lol>

  53. Mark

    "It's not the number of copies though"

    "It's not the number of copies though, it's the _right_ to distribute the work, that is to give it away on bit torrent."

    So because 2 grand has been paid, they now have the right to distribute the work.

    Cool.

    Yes, I'd agree that 2 grand is about right.

  54. Mark

    Re: They aren't fines

    And the UK Bill of Rights says that you can only be deprived of liberty or property after a trial by your peers.

    So when that's done, we'll pay the paytards/

  55. Alexis Vallance
    Alert

    No surprise

    It's no real surprise when the defendents didn't turn up. Did they even respond to the court papers?

    You can only claim actual damages, so I assume the lawyer set out how many other people had taken copies of the game. Now, since it was undefended, they'll just get a default win.

    Same as with parking tickets from private companies. The law does not allow for financial penalties to be imposed, but a rare case taken to small claims, if left undefended, will get a default judgement. Even though no private parking company has ever won a defended case.

    You can also apply to have the case seen in your local court. The fact it was heard in central London, near the solicitors, makes it unlikely the defendents responded to anything.

  56. Kwac

    "Piracy is theft "

    No, theft is theft.

    Piracy is copyright infringement.

  57. Steven Jones

    Lending and copyright

    Again this needs to be clarified. If you lend something to somebody and it's against the terms of the license, then that's potentially breach of contract or license terms, not breach of copyright. Whether such contractual terms are strictly enforceable or not might have to be tested in law. The same, incidentally, holds true for resale. For instance, it is not possible to stop the resale of books or music recordings in the UK as case law is against it. However, in the case of software licences then I do not think that it has been tested in law for individuals. Certainly corporate software licenses generally can't be resold and that would most certainly invite legal action (one of the reasons why outsourcing companies that run systems often don't take ownership of the software licenses or possible IT equipment - EDS found that out).

    However, if you lend somebody a copyright article knowing it is to be copied, then that is a breach of copyright - by both parties. Of course demonstrating the "knowing" bit is a a little difficult. But remember - this is balance-of-probabilities, not beyond reasonable doubt. Lend somebody licensed sofware with an identifiable and unique registration number, then it might be traceable.

  58. jai

    leechers

    so leechers, in theory, should have a sound defense as they can prove they never let anyone download from them, and are therefore not liable for any further fines beyond not paying for the software

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I can't wait for one of these cases to actually come to court"

    Some people never read the stories. And some people never even get to the headline.

    RTFA?

    RTFH!

  60. Paul M.

    Dumb maths

    @gothiclaw:

    "Are we honestly expected to believe that the average bittorrent user could have uploaded a total of 37.5 gigabytes of this game, particularly with upload speeds in the UK being less than the download speeds?"

    No, not an "average bittorrent user" but these particular Freetards.

    This torrent is about 600MB. Leave your torrent tracker running for a couple of months and a 62:1 ration is not difficult to achieve.

    Now I know where the "tard" in Freetard comes from.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    @Mark

    "So because 2 grand has been paid, they now have the right to distribute the work. Cool."

    Paying a fine for trespassing on the Balmorel Estate does not entitle you to the deeds of the Balmorel Estate.

    Defective logic like this can only come from a Freetard.

  62. Watashi
    Black Helicopters

    Its a question of how much data is shared.

    According to the Copyright, Designs and Patents acts1988:

    A person commits an offence who: [...] distributes otherwise than in the course of a business to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright.

    In other words, for file sharing to be a penal offence (ie with a statutory fine / prison sentence) it is necessary to share enough copies of a file to significantly dent the income of the IP. Now, if a file sharer doesn't seed a file, then they are only going to be part of a downloading swarm for as long as it takes to download the file. This means that the downloader is only going to upload the equivalent of a single game's worth of data. That's the same as making a copy of the game and giving it to your mate. Some may feel that file sharing is a 'crime' in the same way that stealing a CD is, or that it is equivalent to piracy - but in the eyes of the law that just isn't the case.

    This is the weakness of the law as regards file sharing - the typical file sharer is committing a very large number of civil offences, (as opposed to a pirate, who is committing a penal offence), and so cannot be arrested by the police. A private court case taken on a single file being shared should not result in a fine of more than a few tens of pounds (unless you're seeding files) to compensate the two copies worth of copying that has taken place. The only direct way round this is to make the sharing of a single file a crime along the lines of selling drugs.

    This is why ISPs and Torrent sites etc are a better target, as they can be said to be taking part in an activity that can 'prejudicially' affect the copyright holder due to many copies of a single file it distributes. A single file sharer loses an IP one or two sales of a game or piece of music - a Torrent site can lose him or her thousands of sales. That is, if a Torrent site can be held liable for the material it distributes.

    This puts ISPs in a strange situation. As long as ISPs are unable to spy on your internet use, they are no more responsible for file sharing than the Royal Mail is responsible for me posting out copies of a CD. However, if ISPs are able to snoop on your internet use, they suddenly find themselves being potentially responsible for the illegal distribution of copyright materials and could end up in prison. Thus, companies who wish to use spyware technologies like Phorm will find themselves able to easily determine who is filesharing and so will have to co-operate with the government to clamp down on P2P. This is, coincidentally, exactly what is happening at BT.

    There is a clear 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' thing going on here - the ISPs ban file sharing, the government allows ISPs to monitor our internet use without our permission. For them its a win-win situation.

  63. Kevyn

    @Steven Jones

    Actually the UK does have a limited form of punitive damages, we just call them exemplary damages. See Rookes v. Barnard .

  64. Gilbert Wham

    Johnny Appleseed

    "Leave your torrent tracker running for a couple of months and a 62:1 ration is not difficult to achieve."

    Would that it were that easy...

  65. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    They didn't show up!

    "And that's where I have a problem with this. If you take someone to court to seek damages you have to show that a specific financial loss has occurred, and that the loss is the fault or responsibility of the party from whom you seek damages. So if I buy a washing machine which has an electrical fault which causes a fire that burns down my house, in order to be awarded damages I've got to be able to show that is was the washing machine that caused the fire."

    AND

    "Are we honestly expected to believe that the average bittorrent user could have uploaded a total of 37.5 gigabytes of this game, particularly with upload speeds in the UK being less than the download speeds?"

    ....

    Well.. no. You don't have to show any damages in any meaningful way, and can make any stupid claim you want that someone shared 900,000 times, IF THE DEFENDENT DOESN'T EVEN SHOW UP. If the judge was on the defendent's side, they could have showed up and said "this is a load of crap" and the judge might just say "yes it is, case dismissed." But, if they don't show, they judge has to go with the prosecution, no matter how crap a case they made. I mean, hell, some spammer sued Spamhaus here in the states for $11 millon, and won, because noone from Spamhaus showed up (of course, Spamhaus is also not subject to US law, so the spammer hasn't collected a cent.)

    Of course, if this is done like it is in the US, these guys that didn't show up to court might not HAVE to pay anything, and they might just have collection agents asking "please pay the 750 you owe" at worst.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Balmorel Estate?

    If you mean the Balmoral Estate then perhaps you should read "Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003". Generally in Scotland there is a right to roam. Having said that you'll most likely be charged with some other misdemeanor.

    When it comes to Freetards "The Queen" is surely an overachiever in this field.

  67. Solomon Grundy

    @Fines were too small

    Piracy is not theft. It's piracy. Heave to and prepare to be boarded - or just shut up. The music/movie industries have left themselves wide open to "piracy" by adopting the cheapest media possible. The IP issue is sort of like arguing that it's illegal to pick the lock on your house when you forgot your keys inside. It's possible, and easy, to circumvent the protections on most media, therefore it ought to be OK to do it yourself, or even pay someone to do it (i.e. locksmith).

    P.S. You suck but your position just serves to reinforce sound logic: so keep up the good work...coward.

  68. Martin Nicholls
    Paris Hilton

    No win big fee

    No win no fee until the counter suit which will happen one day. When I first saw this I had to check it wasn't April 1st again already. Suing over an 8.99 game which is utter shite anyway?

    These lolsuits are daft, how do they expect to ever win one in the UK when they have to prove damage to business when what's at stake is a bunch of people that wouldn't buy the damn thing anyway?

    What's even worse is maybe a few people actually enjoyed the game and bought it - so not sharing would be damaging to their busines.

    Even paris could figure this one out. In fact she did - and made a packet on the DVD sales - go figure.

  69. Steen Hive
    Pirate

    @Kwac

    "No, theft is theft. Piracy is copyright infringement."

    Stop talking through a hole in your head.

    Theft is just that.

    Copyright infringement is just that.

    Piracy is robbery on the high seas.

    Something really needs to be done about all these Somalian "copyright infringers"

  70. Mark Hamilton

    re: Lending and copyright

    Back in the good old days, Borland's License Agreement was unique in that it was (a) less than half of one A5 page in length and (b) stipulated that its software should be treated in exactly the same was as a physical book. That metaphor was easy to understand by all and although the underlying principles remain the same today, all licensing agreements are now couched in often hard to understand legalese and indeed may prove unenforceable.

  71. Steven Jones

    @kevyn

    Thanks for the clarification on the exemplary damages poinbt. It looks like the circumstances are very restrictive and it's also controversial.

  72. Alex

    Ask the ISPs how much data they've uploaded

    If the damages awarded to the prosecution are related to how many copies were illegally distributed, why not do the following:

    Require the prosecution to supply the ISP's record of how much data the defendant uploaded during the time they were sharing the file?

    I'm pretty certain ISPs collect this data anyway to help them manage their networks more effectively. If the prosecution is forced to include this data in any claim, it puts an upper limit on how much they can claim in damages.

    So if the file in question is 20MB and your ISP's logs show that you uploaded 200MB over the few days you were sharing it, the maximum possible damages that could be awarded to the prosecution would be for 10 illegal copies.

  73. Matt

    @Steven Jones

    Just one point to add.

    As this is a civil suit the damages seem to fall into the small claims category (upto 5000) wouldn't be because the standard of proof is even lower is it?

    I've helped friends successfully defend against small claims with nothing more than the plantiffs paperwork and actually turning up.

  74. michael

    @Scott

    the way bit torwent works they can be very shure that the torrent contains the copyrighted work I can not be bothered to explane here but it biols down to "they download it and check"

  75. Andy Worth

    Re:"Piracy is theft "

    No....Piracy, until the copyright brigade nicked the word for their own devices, meant:

    1. practice of a pirate; robbery or illegal violence at sea.

    If you ask me, they chose the wrong word as everyone knows that REAL pirates are cool.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is not a lnadmark result and sets no real legal precedent

    And why?

    Well because the defendents rolled over and died, rather then defend there case.

    It will be interesting, how you DL, who are no doubt reading this article and posts, how well you fair when someone stands up and challenges your accusations, especially if you decide to take some of the innocent people to court, like the guy who has been accused even though they had no ISP account at the time of the so called copyright infringment.

    Of course no doubt DL, you will use this result as another means to extort money from people with threats of 'Hey we have won 4 cases, cough up or it may be you next'

  77. Andraž Levstik

    sharing

    "But until the vast IT community comes to understand that file "sharing" other people's work is wrong, this problem will continue."

    Please go stick your nose back to scoring brownies... There's nothing wrong with sharing...

    People do it all the time. We share the air we breath we share the planet we live on etc...

    And yes we even share other peoples work... before p2p and the internet and now as well...

    The only difference is internet made sharing easier and global... Before it was a smaller

    circle of people. But still with the small worlds theory a group of 6 people should be enough to share anything they share with the rest of the world.

    I share... yes other peoples work and my own. It's called Free Software and Open Source.

    I don't even bother sharing proprietary/commercial software since it goes against my

    philosophy. My audio media is all freely shareable(http://www.jamend.com and others).

    I don't share movies since I don't actually watch them and care much about. I do share(read get via p2p and seed) TV shows and Anime though but then I do pay my local cabelco for TV and internet so I don't consider that to be really bad since people do get payed for it in the end. The only reasons I do this are

    a) I don't have a PVR/DVR to record them all

    b) most shows are unavailable in their original language

    c) most shows tend to come around here 2-3 years AFTER they are released on DVD

    I belive p2p will be the next TV and that we will be paying our ISPs for the premium of getting

    TV shows off the net(in any way we want(that's the IMPORTANT BIT)).

    Don't force me to run DRM crapware, don't force me to use YOUR software to get it. Just

    make it possible for the current crews that provide TV rips on torrents to do so legaly(hell

    hire them with all the extra dough you'll be getting there).

    You could have an all-you-can-eat flatrate, a N-shows per week/month/3 months/6 months/year rate etc... Just incorporate that into the ISPs billing and make sure it goes to the right people.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Bad precedent

    This just gives the leeches another way to pull out money from the system. I mean, is this really a useful contribution to society?

    I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't advocate piracy / copyright infringement or whatever.

    But this sort of "lawyers chase ways to screw people for cash to keep their parasitic industry afloat", really annoys me. Get a real job and contirbute to society, rather than taking from it.

    Harassing software companies to sue their customers must be a bad idea unless you're a crap company.

    I'll ditch codemasters if they go down this road. Embargo their stuff, we've got to discourage this kind of spammy litigation.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ AC

    "By Anonymous Coward

    Posted Wednesday 2nd July 2008 19:59 GMT

    Go

    "So because 2 grand has been paid, they now have the right to distribute the work. Cool."

    Paying a fine for trespassing on the Balmorel Estate does not entitle you to the deeds of the Balmorel Estate.

    Defective logic like this can only come from a Freetard."

    What? It's your logic here that has failed miserably here. He was responding to the idea that the high costs cover more than just fines for letting people download the software but extend to costs to cover the right to distribute the software. He is suggesting if you have to pay for this right you should get this right which is a reasonable suggestion although if you have done this without acquiring the right first then a penalty charge on top of the right to distribute seems reasonable.

    Your fine for trespassing analogy covers the fine for allowing others to download the software from you but doesn't cover the additional fee covering the right to distribute that these people are suggesting the court judgement covers. The latter is akin in your analogy to having to pay a permit to access the estate as punishment on top of the fine for accessing it in the first place. It would seem reasonable therefore to be allowed to use that permit if you're having to pay for it, else the simple fine for trespassing would be much more reasonable.

    How interesting that the logic of so-called freetards is so often correct compared to that of those who believe they're somehow above freetards. But then, I suppose it's a demonstration of the nonsensical nature of the freetard word as all too often the argument from so-called freetards is far more logical and far more intelligent than those who attack these supposed freetards. I guess when the other party has to resort to making up insults it only serves to demonstrate further how that party realises it has no other recourse than covering weak arguments by attacking in such a way. But then, that's par for the course when the inventor of the word is a wannabe journalist working for The Register who has a history of attacking people far more intelligent than himself with the mistaken belief that he is somehow better than them.

  80. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @ AC (no the other one)

    >>I guess when the other party has to resort to making up insults it only serves to demonstrate further how that party realises it has no other recourse than covering weak arguments by attacking in such a way.

    Freetard.

    What?

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Freetard

    The term Freetard was coined, by the Reg, to insult people who claimed Linux users should be supported with the same urgency as disabled people, which is a silly claim and does indeed imply that using FOSS is a disability.

    What's up, can't you keep track of your own insults?

  82. alain williams Silver badge

    Loss of £8.99 ???

    Well no.

    Take off VAT: £7.65

    Take off 100% mark up by the retailer: £3.82

    Take off production costs of CD, box, ..., say £2.00: £1.82

    There are probably other unit costs that I have not thought about.

    Multiply that by how many times uploaded (100): £182.00. Hmmmm

  83. Steven Jones

    @matt

    The small claims court is designed to allow a plaintiff to claim for damages without the expense of legal representation. I think it is at the option of the plaintiff and not automatic. I also don't know if the small claims court process can be used by companies. In any case, this is something that was initiated by lawyers, so they probably aren't going to favour a process that leaves them out of the loop.

  84. Matt

    @steven jones

    Good point,

    I'll have to have a check to see what is covered by small claims...... I'm so used to helping people with defences and not instigating

  85. Matt Hawkins
    Gates Halo

    How many times ...

    -- "you cannot steal something that is not there"

    -- Can you steal electricity? I believe you can be convicted for that form of theft.

    You can steal electricity because it is a limited resource. By using it you are depriving the owner of selling it to someone else. Every unit of electricity you use has to be generated. The cost of creating a song, film or software product is a fixed cost whether you sell 1 copy or a trillion.

    Copying something digital does not deprive the original owner of the product.

    File sharing of copyright material is not "theft" just as taking a picture of a car isn't "car theft".

    You can argue it is wrong but claiming it is "theft" is simply stupid and misinformed.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Just a thought...

    An unscruplious (surely there is no such thing) company, which I'm sure Davenport Lyons is not, could proceede thus:

    Firstly, from your list of potential victims, choose ONLY those who live a fair distance from the court this would be dealt with in.

    Then, drop the case against anyone who shows sign of defending themselves.

    You now have a list of people who are unlikely to even turn up, or present a defence.

    Now switch the meat grinder on.

    On securing the default judgement, when no payment is forthcoming, pass the debt onto your usual firm of thugs - sorry - debt collecters.

    Rinse - repeat - profit.

    The other development that's coming along shortly is... Scammers.

    "an immediate without predujice payment to Shaftem Screwyou & Spong will result in this case against you being dropped"

    You all ready for this guys?

  87. Alan Fisher

    What about shops which buy your old DVDs?

    Most EULAS state you cannot sell or accept for sale (purchase) the software contained on the DVD/CD etc right?

    So does that, under this kind of developing law, make Game, ExtraVision and others criminals? They are selling on something already paid for and making a profit. Are you culpable of offense for accepting payment (reselling) what is now your property? Some might point to my point being a fuzzy one but have a peep at the EULA....

    as previously mentioned, it's another case of the small being run over roughshod by the mighty.....

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Can you steal electricity

    I recall the crime being Abstraction rather than Theft.

  89. William Old
    Unhappy

    @Various...

    @Steven Jones:

    Thanks for saving me the effort of explaining this to the large number of readers who need to take a greater interest in how the various legal systems in the UK actually work... :-(

    @Daniel Grey and others:

    There is no such thing as a "UK Bill of Rights", no matter where you read about it. The 1689 Bill of Rights relates only to England (and Wales??), because until 1707 Scotland had its own Parliament, and even to this day the Scottish civil and criminal legal systems are wholly separate and distinct from those in England and Wales. However, the Scottish Parliament did pass the 1689 Claim of Rights, a different constitutional instrument in its own right.

    @Matt Hawkins:

    No, you cannot steal electricity - it is not, and cannot be, "property" within the meaning of S.1 Theft Act 1968. But you can "abstract" or "divert" it.

    Just one final point: the (English) High Court is mentioned, but if the individual awards of damages are so small (well under the £5,000 limit used in allocating cases to the appropriate case track), why were these not classed as "Small Claims", where neither side can claim legal costs? If these people had been sued individually, they wouldn't have to pay a penny in legal costs to the other side, only witness expenses and the issue fee for the summons.

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @piracy semantics

    To all those who argue that "piracy" in the context of infringing copyright (etc.) is not the same as "piracy" in the context of boarding ships, raping the women, drinking the grog and saying "yaaaarrr":

    Yes you are right. But, guess what, in English (and many other languages, but let's stick to what we know) words can have different meanings. Like it or not "piracy" these days is far more likely to be understood as infringing copyright than firing a broadside and wearing a parrot. Get over it.

    RE: the fucktards who claim the defence "just because I downloaded the [song/movie/game] doesn't mean I'd have paid for it so the loss is zero:

    Grow up. It is just as valid to claim that every illegal download is a lost sale because a copy of the whatever was appropriated and no monies changed hands. If you didn't want it you wouldn't have downloaded it. A similar, but obviously too intellectual argument for the fucktards is if I TWOK (note you cannot steal a car in the UK, you take it without consent instead) a Ferrari I would not be able to use the defence that I would never have actually bought one if I had to put my money where my mouth is.

    back to the story, personally I think they are lucky not to be done for contempt for not turning up to court when summonsed.

  91. Steen Hive
    Coat

    @ Lee

    "Like it or not "piracy" these days is far more likely to be understood as infringing copyright than firing a broadside and wearing a parrot."

    Ah, so if I hypothetically called you a "stupid cunt", you might understand I really mean "diamond geezer"?

    Great.

    This fucking with the "semantics" of the word "piracy" is pure propaganda, not a natural language development - accept it as truth at your peril. And if you want to postulate that it's valid to claim an unlawful copy as a lost sale, then it's you that needs to do some growing up, as well as maybe returning from that alternative universe..

    I'll get me trousers, if that's what the RIAA are calling coats these days.

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Fines were too small

    I was just wondering, what's it like working for the BPI? is the food at the cafeteria good?

    ---Or---

    Are you already bored, Mr Gates?

  93. call me scruffy
    Go

    Weakest excuse ever

    "I'm not cheating anyone of the sale because I wouldn't buy it otherwise".

    So because you're NOT prepared to pay for it you should get it for free?

    If that was a valid argument then no-one would pay for IP! Seriously, why would they, when they could just say "I'm not prepared to".

    And so IP providers, be they coders, authors or actors, should produce this work in their spare time? Working two jobs so they can afford high end dev machines, decent microphones, studio time etc.

    There are some truly great projects that HAVE been produced in open source, but that doesn't justify saying that pay-ware developers have only themselves to blame for having spent billable time working on it.

    Of course I'm wasting my time, soon it'll be argued that the BBC/Fox/whoever should set up paypal donations to make Doctor Who/whatever/Scrubs, and that since people still don't have to pay, then the shortfall should be made up from corporate taxation, and that those corporate revenues will actually be larger because they'll have found some magic way of making loads more money now that these wonderful excuses for not paying your way have been introduced.

    To be honest, yes I fileshare, but only to watch once, and only until I can buy a legit copy. (Still waiting for BSG season four on DVD)

    I know one person who tries to claim that he'd buy DVDs but the rips are of better quality! (An argument refuted by the specifications of that codec, several broadcast and signal processing engineers, and my own eyes.) There will always be people thinking up tenuous reasons why they should be exempt, it astonishes me that they aren't recognised as the thieves they are!

  94. nana

    Call yourself scruffy

    Plenty of people pay for IP (itself a vile neologism - who knew that I would turn out to be a socialist of thought) - Much freeware comes with the ability to donate automatically.

    Historically, art thrived under a system of patronage - effectively a donations based business model.

    Either way, the argument is that downloading media without paying does not give rise to measurable damages (on the individual level) - The issue of damages arises in this, and pretty much every other case, at the point of distribution. The infringement is in giving the media away for free without license from the creator.

    You make an egregious oversight referring to the BBC - which, of course, is funded by the taxpayer in any case. Many television networks are funded by advertising revenue. The upshot is still a free product to the consumer.

    And then you admit to rank hypocrisy - There being, of course, a time value attached to IP, which you appear to being not prepared to pay.

    Then you go all straw man on us - albeit in a way that condemns your own actions as theft. So well done there.

    AC @ post number 2 - your reasoning is specious and wishful at best. You're not Bruce Everiss are you?

  95. call me scruffy

    nana

    Even though patronage is a viable business model, producers can't be forced to adopt it retrospectively, nor are you going to persuade investors to hope that people will donate for it.

    Your argument is a little bizarre, "The infringement is in giving the media away", so it would be worse if they were burning those files to optical disc and mailing them to each other?

    The BBC is funded by several revenue streams, British TV licence sellers, overseas sales of rights, sales of media, sales of merchendise. It only appears to be "Free" wthin the UK.

    Okay I misphrased that, "There's a difference between sharing something that simply isn't available, to buy AS SOON as it's available, and just getting a free ride out of some half arsed argument". And there are a lot of communities (such as uknova) that work on similar principles. Anyway, Looks like the writing's on the wall for file sharing, bah, nice while it lasted!

  96. nana

    scruffy

    You are wrong to infer that I was suggesting the forced adoption of an historical, albeit workable, business model, and misguided to add a layer of complexity in the form of the attractiveness to investors. Consider advertising - a form of patronage - The investor donates money to be associated with a creation, in the hope that a positive association leads to a benefit.

    To the original comment that you challenged: Person A is not depriving anybody of an actual or opportunity income, given that they would have gone without in the absence of "it" being available for free by another source.

    They do not contend that they have a right to the "it", nor that the creator be compelled to provide "it" for free on the basis that A does not wish to pay.

    The creator suffers in no respect whatsoever.

    "would [it] be worse if they were burning those files to optical disc and mailing them to each other" - What is the difference between sharing the media physically or electronically in this context? You might have been better of asking if it were worse if they were _selling_ those files to each other, which would result in a fairly definitive _yes_, although damages would and have generally been awarded in both cases.

    The difference that you are so quick to rationalise, in order to forgive your own thieving nature, is moot. The premium accorded to time is everything when it comes to copyright. It (copyright, that is - not time) was, and still is, a legal construct that provides protection, to the creator of a work, of income from that work - and here's the relevant bit - for a specific time period. After which, people may copy / derive / generally muck about with the work.

    The BBC / fee thread of your argument doesn't seem to be anything other that a fanciful straw man, and your conclusion that the writing is on the wall for file sharing is entirely unsupported supposition.

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Lee

    > (note you cannot steal a car in the UK, you take it without consent instead)...

    Actually, Lee, that's (to use a technical legal phrase) "complete bollocks".

    Of course you can steal a car... S.1 Theft Act 1968. But, where someone takes a car, and the police cannot prove "... the intention of permanently depriving the other of it" [Section 1(1) of the Act], then usually "taking a conveyance" [Section 12 of the same Act] is charged instead.

    So, for example, someone changes the ID marks or resprays the car to make it look different, straight theft would be the charge.

  98. This post has been deleted by its author

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Is this legal?

    Is this legal what Davenport Lyons are doing?

    Isn't it classed as wire-tapping?

    Does a law firm have the right to wire-tap?

This topic is closed for new posts.

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