back to article Texas ISP slams music biz for trying to turn it into a 'copyright cop'

An ISP based in Texas has complained to a judge that the music industry to trying to turn internet providers into the "copyright police." "This case is an attempt by the US recording industry to make Internet service providers its de facto copyright enforcement agents," reads the latest filing [PDF] in an ongoing court case …

  1. jameshogg

    "Government tries to enforce new fiat currency where a written dollar sign on a piece of paper counts as legal tender. Is furious that everyone writes dollar signs on paper without permission and is baffled why nobody will do anything about it."

    1. expreg

      Sue the office supply store. All of those pens are responsible for this!

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    the music industry argues Grande benefits financially from selling faster speed internet connections to copyright infringers. "The greater the bandwidth its subscribers require for pirating content, the more money Grande receives."

    This could become a "case" for certain ISP's to hold back on upgrading users to higher connection speeds.

    1. Mephistro Silver badge

      Sshhhhhhh...

      ... don't give them ideas!

    2. veti Silver badge

      "56kb/s should be enough for anyone?"

      I'm honestly surprised the plaintiffs haven't tried to get a friendly student to collect evidence for them. On the other hand, if they suborn a student who then does something illegal at their behest, where does that leave them?

      1. Arion

        What exactly would the "something illegal" be? If it's downloading copyrighted material without the copyright holders consent it isn't illegal. There could be something about unwarranted search and seizure though.

        1. John G Imrie Silver badge

          illegal

          I noticed that the complaint used the word theft, I'm waiting for some smart lawyer to ask the copyright holder how making a copy of a song permanently deprived them of that song.

          1. kain preacher Silver badge

            Re: illegal

            John G Imrie

            In America theft is merely taking some thing that does not belong to you . Even if you intended to give it back.

            1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

              Re: illegal

              In America theft is merely taking some thing that does not belong to you . Even if you intended to give it back.

              As in taking something and depriving the owner of it. Copyright violation is not theft, copyright violation is copyright violation. This does not make it any more or less acceptable.

              1. horse of a different color

                Re: illegal

                A copyright violation is equivalent to stealing a Policeman’s helmet.

                https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ALZZx1xmAzg

              2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

                Re: illegal

                "As in taking something and depriving the owner of it. Copyright violation is not theft, copyright violation is copyright violation."

                Copyright is the right to determine who can legally own a copy of something... It's kinda right there in the name. Copyright, in the U.S., is a property right, and property rights are defensible in court, even if the property in question is not physically removed (e.g., trespass).

                Further, appropriating the fruits of someone else's labor without their consent constitutes "theft of services", or doesn't the U.K. have that one?

              3. kain preacher Silver badge

                Re: illegal

                "As in taking something and depriving the owner of it" no just taking it no need to prove intent to permanently deprive the owner . If take a car with just the intent to joy ride it's theft. Even if you bring it back.

            2. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: illegal

              "In America theft is merely taking some thing that does not belong to you "

              So copyright infringement is not theft in America either then as you don't take / deprive anyone of anything.

              As per:

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeTybKL1pM4

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: illegal

            "I noticed that the complaint used the word theft, I'm waiting for some smart lawyer to ask the copyright holder how making a copy of a song permanently deprived them of that song."

            The theft is of the revenues from a legitimate transaction. Kind of like how organized criminals get nailed for tax evasion.

    3. Cuddles Silver badge

      "the music industry argues Grande benefits financially from selling faster speed internet connections to copyright infringers. "The greater the bandwidth its subscribers require for pirating content, the more money Grande receives.""

      Because obviously downloading music with file sizes generally in the 3-5MB range is the only reason anyone could ever want a fast internet connection. Nothing to do with streaming gigabytes of HDTV, or downloading games that are starting to top 100GB, and the idea of teenagers away from home for the first time downloading any amount of porn is simply ludicrous. No, the demand for faster internet these days is driven entirely by the occasional mp3 download of things they couldn't find on Spotify or Youtube.

    4. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Don't be silly

      You need higher bandwidth for Netflix not downloading 8 MB .mp3 files.

  3. Mark Exclamation

    Did anyone proof-read this article? It's full of errors, too many for me to be bothered to list here.

    As for the case, I hope Grande prevails.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      If you go to the bottom of the article there is a link that says "Tips and corrections".

      HOW ABOUT LEARNING HOW TO USE IT!

      Sheesh!

      1. Mark Exclamation

        Wow!

        BECAUSE I FELT IT NEEDED TO BE POINTED OUT PUBLICLY!

        Did you get a degree in stating the bleedin'-obvious?

        Sheesh!

  4. earl grey Silver badge
    Flame

    Dear Music Industry

    ODFO

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Dear Music Industry

      I'd say, come back with court approved evidence that a subscriber is copying and we'll talk.

      Either that, or you employ 1 person to deal with the requests and each request has to go through due dilligence.

  5. fishman

    Music files are small

    "the music industry argues Grande benefits financially from selling faster speed internet connections to copyright infringers."

    You don't need a fast connection to download music files, especially when you torrent them - relatively small files that can be downloaded in the background. Its video streaming that needs the bandwidth.

    1. FozzyBear Silver badge

      Re: Music files are small

      @fishman

      Your're letting the facts get in the way of a good legal argument.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Music files are small

        You're letting the facts get in the way of a good legal argument.

        FTFY :/

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Music files are small

          They probably started using this argument when the enforcement began in the mid 2000s - it was true back when many people were still upgrading from dialup to first gen DSL/cable.

          Unfortunately for them, technology has changed and when people upgrade today they're going from "more than fast enough to download music" to "way more than fast enough to download music".

  6. eldakka Silver badge

    Of course the likelihood that thousands of university students are using BitTorrent to share files that everyone has a legitimate right to own is virtually zero.

    Actually, the likelihood of that is nearly 100%. BitTorrent, like the Internet itself, is a tool for sharing files. It makes no value judgement on what the files are. Could be Linux distro's, public domain movies and video (yes there is such a thing), the lecturers themselves could distribute video and audio recordings of their lectures to their students via BitTorrent.

    However, the chances that that is solely what is shared is virtually zero.

  7. TonyJ Silver badge

    From the article...

    "... a system developed by Rightscorp that "identifies actual infringements and the perpetrators of these infringements (by IP address, port number, time, and date)*."

    The system monitors BitTorrent and, according to the music industry, "has the capability to acquire entire files from the infringing host computers."..."

    So...Rightscorp run up a BT client and note down the IP addresses...

    * My emphasis because as we all know here, no one ever uses say a VPN or their neighbours insecure WiFi or spoofs IP addresses...no siree! IP addresses are ALL you need for proof positive.

    1. Velv Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: From the article...

      The insinuation here is that students on the Grande networks within campus are sharing between each other, so the IP address is probably the nefarious students. Probably. Not, as you say, proof positive :)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ip-echelon.com are idiots

    As someone that runs a Tor exit, I get regular missives from ip-echelon.com, telling me that I need to deal with copyright violating users.

    As a result, I have an SMTP-time block rule telling them to sod off -- they never reply to mails, despite claiming to have a ticketing system.

    I seriously doubt that anyone has ever succeeded in sharing a movie (their repeated claim) via my 5Mbit/s Tor exit, so would agree that there is no proper effort to establish infringement by these dodgy lawyers.

    What is presumably actually going on is that the client is advertising an allegedly infringing file via Tor, but the infringement (if there is any) is going on via a non-Tor transport. That being the case, their claim of the infringement as being related to my Tor exit is drivel.

    They just assume that if a client is advertising a file, it must a) have a copy of the file, and b) be willing to share it, c) have enough bandwidth to actually share it, and d) have at some point done so.

    They might as well assume that all Internet users are infringing copyright.

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge
      Trollface

      They might as well assume that all Internet users are infringing copyright.

      You mean they don't?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm infringing right now

        And I'm loving it.

      2. SolidSquid

        Re: They might as well assume that all Internet users are infringing copyright.

        Depends on whether you need intent to violate copyright. Technically if you're visiting sites where they've used images without the permission of the copyright holder, your system is going to download them without the owner's permission to store it in cache and so potentially could be considered copyright infringement

        1. Fatman Silver badge

          Re: They might as well assume that all Internet users are infringing copyright.

          <quote>... your system is going to download them without the owner's permission to store it in cache and so potentially could be considered copyright infringement.</quote>

          A very good reason to clear the cache on exit.

  9. John G Imrie Silver badge

    Infringing files

    I'm actually considering setting up a group of torrents named after this weeks top 40, is there still such a thing?, selling records containing a sound track of me reading a poem I wrote and wait for the illegal requests to block me come into my ISP.

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Infringing files

      Copyright no... trademark infringement instead.. yes.

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Infringing files

        Sgt tried, "...trademark infringement instead.. >yes<."

        You spelled "no" incorrectly.

        In general, the Titles of songs (or books, movies, etc.) cannot be copyrighted nor trademarked. I believe that the reason(s) for this is inherently obvious.

      2. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: Infringing files

        "Copyright no... trademark infringement instead.. yes."

        No, I revived a notice for a 1.5k text file that happened to have a name close to a Madonna song. It's all bots and no one looks at the output.

    2. Philip Hands

      Re: Infringing files

      I'm sure that I read about a researcher writing a BT client that claims to have popular files (but only a few blocks in the middle IIRC), and if anyone asks for those blocks, they hand out a block of NULs (or some such).

      Inevitably, they got a load of take-down notices claiming infringement, despite there having been no (or almost no) attempts to grab the supposedly available blocks.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Infringing files

      " setting up a group of torrents named after this weeks top 40, is there still such a thing?, selling records containing a sound track of me reading a poem I wrote "

      This has been done, the results of such trolling are relatively funny and the music cartels haven't modified their tactics in response.

      It's worth noting that in order to _prove_ that copyright materials are being circulated in a swarm, the accusers must actually participate in them rather than just monitor the advertisments and that means uploading as well as downloading - being employed by the cartels means they're authorised to do so, which starts raising questions along the lines of "Prenda Law?"

  10. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Sympathy for the Devi... Recording Industry

    "The dinosaurs will slowly die

    And I do believe no one will cry

    I'm just fucking glad I'm gonna be

    There to watch the fall"

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Personally, I love how Grande dissected Rightscorp's tool

    And clearly demonstrated that Rightscorp are nothing but a bunch of tools in the first place.

    Their tool doesn't do a single thing it purports to do.

    And of course, the music industry loves it, because they don't have a clue either.

    Hoping for and looking forward to a Grande win.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why do they ignore the German study that shows pirates tend to have much larger paid for media collections than non-pirates?

    I pirated two albums this week and will be buying the physical copies of one this weekend since it is worth paying for. The other, not so much... Without pirating them the music industry would have made zero sales since i wouldn't know that these albums were any good.

    No piracy = no music sales from me since i don't own a radio

    1. SolidSquid

      Because the law firms have persuaded them that the study is wrong so that they can continue to charge them for the service of sending notices. Just look how much Prenda Law was making with this kind of setup

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      AC noted, "...since I don't own a radio."

      Gasp...

      The average (of you and I) number of radios owned then is still getting close to 100.

    3. BongoJoe

      No piracy = no music sales from me since i don't own a radio

      Goodness. If I had to rely on the radio to inspire my music purchases then all I'd be ordering is AutoTuned crap.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: Bongo

        I don't watch much TV, so there's very little opportunity to hear new music generally, except Youtube...but then you generally look for what you think you'll like or hear it randomly.

  13. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    FAIL

    Arrogance

    The music industry have brought this on themselves. They should have thought about it 20 years ago when the demand first materialised. Instead they tried to stifle it, and have failed at every step of the way since, all the time further alienating the listeners. Had they worked out a system for on-line sales at a reasonable price they would have annihilated the organised infringers, as (contrary to their statements) the majority of listeners like to stay within the law.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Arrogance

      Yes. Within reason a consumer will take the easy route to getting what they want. For a long time it's been easier to download tracks illegally rather than legally. The price gouging of consumers for the download editions of music really doesn't help either and neither do all the various reports about how the artist receives almost bugger all from the purchase and the record companies get the largest amount. At least days many more artists have their own record company which does help alleviate this, but only for them.

      1. Boothy

        Re: Arrogance

        Piracy is simple market economics.

        To use some Pseudocode:

        If $price > $PerceivedValue then $piracy++

        If $price <= $PerceivedValue then $piracy--

        If they want to reduce piracy, make the price match, or be less than Perceived Value.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Arrogance

          But how do they do that when it's hard to beat FREE?

          1. Boothy

            Re: Arrogance

            Quote: "But how do they do that when it's hard to beat FREE?"

            Still doesn't change the basic equation.

            Just to make some figures up. Lets say something has a perceived value of £5.

            If it's legally available at £10, then lots of people are likely to pirate.

            if it was legally available for £5, then a lot of people who would have pirated, and going to think, "Is it worth the risk of getting caught, when the £5 is actually what I think it's worth?". Plus if you do like the artist, for music, or developer for a game, and you want them to produce more, I suspect most people like the idea of support them. (Not EA of course, never EA!).

            Yes you'll always have some people who would pirate anyway if they can, that's why I used $piracy-- rather than $piracy=0.

            I don't think you'll ever stop piracy 100%, even if everything was free, people would still complain it's in the wrong format or something. Like people who download movies, when they already have it on disk, as they want a version that will play on their tablet, and don't have the hardware/software, or perhaps the patience, to rip the disk themselves.

  14. Rich 2 Silver badge

    ...then make a policy

    "To be eligible for the safe harbor, an ISP is required, among other things, to adopt and reasonably implement a policy that provides for the termination of subscribers and account holders that are repeat copyright infringers,"

    Simple! Just make a policy then. The policy can say that you're going to ignore the issue. Perfectly legit as long as you follow it and can show that you're following it

  15. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Grande should offer the publishers a cheap takedown service - one that only costs pennies. The first of the day costs a cent. The next doubles up to two cents, the next to four cents etc. Only pocket change. They should have no problem accepting it.

  16. EveryTime

    RightsCorp, right up there with Prenda

    I didn't see a mention of Guardaley (with their false addresses and fake name), but I'm sure that they are around somewhere.

    1. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: RightsCorp, right up there with Prenda

      And they should suffer the same fate:

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/08/20/prenda_lawyer_guilty/

  17. zonker

    the music industry itself contributes to copyright infringement, by making its materials available. if they were better about keeping new albums locked away securely, there wouldn't be a problem with people copying them.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge
      Coat

      the music industry itself contributes to copyright infringement, by making its materials available. if they were better about keeping new albums locked away securely, there wouldn't be a problem with people copying them.

      They should set up a pilot program for this. Start out with the entire catalogues for Michael Bolton, Kenny-G and Justin Bieber...

      (mine's the one with the one with the Megurine Luka CD-R in the pocket... burned from tracks I bought on iTunes)

  18. far2much4me

    Cox Too

    The Media companies are suing Cox Cable on pretty much the same grounds.

  19. Garymrrsn

    The ubiquitous response from US industry; When the wagon axle breaks, charge the horse for not getting the job done.

  20. Brad Ackerman
    Pirate

    This story makes me want to download a car.

    Damn right I would download a car.

  21. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Streaming services rule

    On our local university campus it's the streaming services that rule - Spotify et al ... students download the app and share their playlists with their friends - that seems to be what music is all about these days, sharing playlists - it reminds me of the days when I would make tape cassettes of my favorite mixes and tracks to listen to in the car.

    These days I've MP3'd all my old albums and ripped CD's - if I hear something new then I'll buy the CD but it's nice to see that kids are rediscovering record albums too ... it's fun playing my old albums to them ... whether it's Ziggy Stardust or Trout Mask Replica.

  22. panoptiq

    KIMDOTCOM's revenge..??

    Methinks this ruling has huge implications concerning the DOJ ruling against "MegaUpload" founder HimDotCom. If Grande-ISP wins then KDC's legal team has a foot in the door to discredit the Justice Dept. charges and stick the middle finger in their faces. Not to mention DotCom getting back his $300Million+ that's been frozen.

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