Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Copyright trolls apply the Righthaven idea back on P2P

Mitch Stoltz has an important perspective on Electronic Frontier Foundation’s “deeplinks blog” on May Day, “Hollywood’s Trolls”, link (website url) here.  
Although the RIAA stopped mass-suing for downloading music through P2P a few years ago, it seems that a number of unscrupulous operators are following the Righthaven model and re-applying it back to the P2P world and issuing mass “John Doe” lawsuits.
The threat of a bankrupting $150000 statutory judgment for downloading a single song illegally does force people to settle.  The article mentions that sometimes lawyers are suing web hosts or computer owners who may not be aware that they can protect themselves from secondary liability (through Safe Harbor).  This is somewhat different from Righthaven, which went after original authors who might not have access to Safe Harbor mechanisms at all.
One good question would come up with wireless routers, which are increasingly common in homes and even apartments as ISP’s promote them as the most economical way to connect multiple computers.  (These replace multiple-connect modems.) And then home routers are efficient, sometimes too efficient.  Outside the premises, thieves could do illegal downloads on an unprotected (by password or insufficient security) router and cause liability to the owner.
By the way, I like it when hotels have hardwired Internet connections (instead of WiFi).  The only one so far in NYC that has had one for me was a Holiday Inn Express in Chelsea.  

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