back to article As porn site pounds hard on piracy laws, Cox pulls out prematurely

The US Supreme Court has been asked to take a good hard look at a critical piece of internet law that shields ISPs and websites from legal action when their users pirate copyrighted stuff. Porn studio Ventura Content has asked the court to review the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for the first time since it was …

  1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    Who cares ?

    It seems as though a bunch of rights agents and telecoms operating companies - both industries that make nothing themselves but sell access to other people''s work - are fighting over a share of cake.

    It's hard to give a toss, really.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Who cares ?

      It seems as though a bunch of rights agents and telecoms operating companies - both industries that make nothing themselves but sell access to other people''s work - are fighting over a share of cake.

      The rights agents and telecoms care... oh... and their lawyers of course. Have to keep the income stream flowing. The telecoms care because they could loose income and have some increased costs for doing what the agents want. OTOH, the rights agents will lose income and profit if they don't kick and scream. I'm guessing that whoever has the deeper pockets and better lawyers will win.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Who cares ?

      You should care. The DMCA is a terrible piece of legislation that should never have been passed. The only thing keeping it from being even more damaging than it already is is the safe harbor exemption.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: Who cares ?

        > The only thing keeping it from being even more damaging than it already is is the safe harbor exemption.

        ^ That.

        The DMCA is, and always has been a consumer hostile clusterfuck of legislation. It's (ab)used again and again in order to shut down things that should be legitimate - particularly in areas where there is no safe harbour or similar defence - circumventing technical measures for example. As an example, there's currently a hard-won exception to the DMCA so that you can legally root your phone (but not your tablet).

        That exemption's only good for 3 years, and then it'll have to be fought for again (and again, and again). In 2013(ish) the exemption that allowed you to unlock your phone to another carrier (without your original carrier's permission) expired.

        The fact there's even a hint of them reviewing the DMCA, much less at rights holders behest, should worry you greatly, whether you're in the US or not. Like it or not, our industry tries to follow the Septics, and they're potentially about to get fucked over again.

        1. E_Nigma

          The Problem

          The problem is that they have a legitimate case. The sites in question are porn sites. Their business is showing porn to visitors (and making money from it the same way almost everyone else does). They have extensive collections of material, not just a random pile of stuff, but catalogued, curated, searchable content often with extended metadata. And it's all pirated. They've made a business from "broadcasting" (Streaming) pirated content. And their defence is essentially that they outsourced the procurement of the material to people whom they aren't paying. If it falls under safe heaven, then it's an obvious legal loophole that the rights holders will demand to be closed.

  2. Grikath
    Trollface

    the internet is for.....

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

  3. earl grey Silver badge
    Flame

    The biggest problem

    Is that the alleged rights holders have no disincentive to not lie or file false claims. That's about the only part of the DMCA that needs fixing.

  4. Michael Hoffmann
    Thumb Up

    Sometimes the subtitles just write themselves

    Someone at El Reg must have wept tears of joy when given this task.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Sometimes the subtitles just write themselves

      I don't think they needed to cox them on very much...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sometimes the subtitles just write themselves

        But the climax whn he/she published it with much relief might have inolved much noisy celebration.

  5. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Copyright Issues

    There is a fundamental problem with the DMCA. It is called the US Constitution specifically: "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8). The issue is the copyright length is longer than needed to 'promote the progress of science and useful arts'. As envisioned, 'limited times' was a few years not lifetime plus. Also, most works have a very limited active sales life when the vast majority of the sales occur. While not usually debated, one could argue that much of what is copyrighted fails the definition of 'useful arts'. Porn certainly would not meet the definition of 'useful arts'.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Copyright Issues

      "Porn certainly would not meet the definition of 'useful arts'."

      Porn is useful to some people, and some of it is art. OK, not a lot of it is art, but some of it is.

      1. VikiAi Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Copyright Issues

        Very much onefang! Being support tech at an art school, including supervising the student computer labs, it is a very very fine line (miladdo!). By way of comparison, the portraiture studios nearby periodically host live nude models for (hopefully) tasteful life drawing/painting instruction.

      2. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ
        Coat

        Re: Copyright Issues

        "Porn is useful to some people, and some of it is art. OK, not a lot of it is art, but some of it is."

        to use the term useful is a bit of a broad stroke, but art is a bit of a stretch no matter how abstract you try to make the money shot....

        I guess you could mount the bedding or whatever in a couple of frames as sell them as a couple of Jackson Pollocks,

        I'll get my coat.... its the long one with holes in the pockets...

      3. The Nazz Silver badge

        Re: Copyright Issues

        "Porn certainly would not meet the definition of 'useful arts'."

        Seriously, the lefty liberal elite and "what's good for you" policy makers should be absolutely delighted with the wide availability of free* porn. Orgasmically so.

        Going by the young population around here, certain trends in porn have done much more, much much more to influence that population than Blue Mink ever did. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3_MfDYVKlg

        *Whilst there is widespread availability of free porn ( notwithstanding the cost of monopolised BT line, or smartphones, and ISP costs) it's arguably even better value to the individual when the Govt. social security tab is picking up the ongoing cost. Causation and all that jizz.

      4. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Copyright Issues

        In Constitutional language, the term "useful arts" means what we now call "engineering".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Copyright Issues

      On the contrary, it is probably the most "useful".

    3. King Jack
      Facepalm

      Re: Copyright Issues

      "Porn certainly would not meet the definition of 'useful arts'."

      All art is useful if it changes someone's mood. If I hear a tune and I like it, it's useful. Same with a film, any film. That is what art is. Is an unmade bed art? or a pile of bricks? Both were on display in a museum.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Copyright Issues

        @King Jack. Very good point. Both of those items you mention, while widely derided by the popular press and 'experts in pubs' brought about MUCH discussion of the arts in general. And as such would definitely count as 'useful'

    4. veti Silver badge

      Re: Copyright Issues

      Arguable points, but nothing to do with the DMCA. That act says nothing about copyright duration.

  6. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge
    Joke

    Subtitles!

    Excellent as usual. I'm slightly surprised though that you didn't mention the porno firm's lawyers are the "up and coming" legal experts in this area of law.

    Maybe a reference to their paralegals being busy little beavers.

    Something about the fact the rights holders are not gonna take this lyin down...

    Titillating content though. Damn, what were you talking about?

  7. onefang Silver badge

    'in this context it should only be held liable it is was being "willfully blind" to the issue.'

    Was the proof reader "willfully blind" to this, or am I being "willfully blind" to what "it is was" means?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      proofing this can turn you blind

  8. Vanir

    Some books on particular useful arts ...

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Computer-Programming-Volumes-1-4A-Boxed/dp/0321751043/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535188762&sr=8-1&keywords=the+art+of+computer+programming

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Modern-Kama-Sutra-Intimate-Pleasure-ebook/dp/B003MQLRQA/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1535189027&sr=1-2&keywords=kama+sutra+book

    As a programmer I get more practice in one art than the other.

    I just haven't got that art of living a balanced lifestyle. Someone else has the copyright it seems.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where are the headline bots of the future

    all I got was that wetware-generated tugline...

  10. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Sounds familiar

    "brazenly rich only from others' content, never pays for any content it publishes, knows the content is infringing, has full control over what is published on its platform, does not have to terminate known repeat infringers… and enjoys full immunity from copyright law."

    Sounds like quite a lot of the internet, if you ask me, including some quite well-known names.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Sounds familiar

      Sounds like quite a lot of the internet, if you ask me, including some quite well-known names.

      If the well-known names are the well-known names I think you mean, it's far, far, more than quite a lot of the internet, it's in excess of most of the internet.

      But everyone of consequence knows the average plebs content has no value (except for who watches it when, who with, where and by association what could be successfully advertised to everyone involved and partially involved whether they are willing or not).

  11. Louis Schreurs BEng

    Porn is VERY USEFULL to VERY MUCH PEOPLE,

    don't kidd yourselves.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >VERY MUCH PEOPLE

      Shakes head in disgust at both the grammar and Daily Mail use of capitals for emphasis.

  12. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    I can certainly see the ISPs point

    ...after all, would this legislation "feature creep" it's way to requiring the Post Office and every parcel courier service to open up and examine every item they move to make sure it's not drugs or counterfeit? Because that's what the rights holders are demanding the ISPs do. There are costs, sometimes significant costs, in doing this but no sign of the rights holders offering to pay for this service they are demanding. After all, their is a free investigative service they can use to check this out. They are called Law Enforcement and I'm sure they would be more than happy to investigate any allegations that are made with good legal standing :-)

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: I can certainly see the ISPs point

      Law Enforcement is NOT free. It's paid with taxpayer dollars and budgeted by legislatures...and lately, those legislatures are trimming law enforcement budgets...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I can certainly see the ISPs point

        "Law Enforcement is NOT free."

        Well, obviously TANSTAAFL, but it's free at the point of use. You don't normally pay a Police Officer to respond to your issue or even get an invoice after the fact.

    2. anoco

      Re: I can certainly see the ISPs point

      Or sue the city because a criminal used its streets to commit a crime. Or a train company. Or Uber... Well Uber may actually work because everybody is getting a piece of them lately.

      But the idea of the IP holders paying the ISPs to police the "streets" is a good one.

  13. VideoMastiLIve

    Watch Movie Online at VideoMasti Live

    Guys, this is a huge deal. If they close this loophole and force isps to keep records of all internet traffic, we’re going to need to build the internet 2.0 with encryption that makes it IMPOSSIBLE to keep records. DMCA is evil and they want to give it more teeth! Fuck this!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Watch Movie Online at VideoMasti Live

      They already do this I the UK. GCHQ used to do it but after Snowden they decided to make the ISPs do it cos it's cheaper (for GCHQ).

  14. Someone Else Silver badge

    Be careful what you ask for , Kieren

    A change to the DMCA's safe harbor provision may be the next big adjustment for the internet.

    Be careful what you ask for. In this Mickey Mouse1 era, the changes you get are very likely not what you'll want.

    1 Irony definitely intended...

  15. Bavaria Blu
    Childcatcher

    it's the oldest profession

    "That change makes it plain that the law is finally catching with the impact of internet technology and that some of the broader protections put around internet companies in order to help them thrive may need revising in the light of recent changes in technology and behavior."

    Prostitution is surely not new and neither is the behaviour. The question is whether is is socially acceptable and whether the ease of going into business with the internet has changed behaviour so much that a new law is required. Any laws which exempt internet companies from an existing law seems the wrong way to go about things. If you want to encourage people to buy faster broadband, which will give ISP a reason to invest in infrastructure, there are better ways than making it the immune from laws medium of choice for pirates, pimps or porn slingers.

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