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IFPI Turning To Lawsuits 85

Sherman's doppleganger writes "The IFPI (the "European RIAA") has made a lot of noise about filtering this year, but it looks as though 2008 is instead becoming the year of the lawsuit. The IFPI has now sued an Irish ISP in an attempt to keep copyrighted content off of its network. 'The lawsuit accuses Eircom of abetting illegal downloading by allowing copyrighted material to traverse its network unimpeded. The IFPI... wants the ISP to start filtering traffic to scrub all illicitly uploaded and downloaded copyrighted material on its network.' The lawsuit comes less than a week after an Israeli court forced the nation's three biggest ISPs to block access to"
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IFPI Turning To Lawsuits

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @07:09PM (#22723168) Journal

    IFPI Turning To Lawsuits
    To say the IFPI is turning to lawsuits is like saying Bob Dylan is turning to drugs. It's an organization of lawyers! What else do they do?!

    I recall them dishing out 2100 lawsuits at once in 2005 [] and 8000 lawsuits at once in 2006 []! And evidence that it's been going on since 2004 [].

    You might be able to convince me that the IFPI is getting smarter (or stupider, depending on your views) at stopping file sharing by targeting ISPs with lawsuits but to say they're only now with litigating to stop these losses is ignorant.
  • by BSAtHome ( 455370 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @07:17PM (#22723250)
    ...wants the ISP to start filtering traffic to scrub all illicitly uploaded and downloaded copyrighted material on its network.

    So, basically, nearly all traffic traversing the ISP must be blocked because most is covered by copyright. Also most webcontent falls in the same category. What a prospect.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by fireman sam ( 662213 ) ifconfig ppp0 down exit
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Alexx K ( 1167919 )

      We tried asking the ISP to pay a 5 Euro levy per kilobyte to cover the costs of its users downloading copyrighted content. As you already know, the ISP refused, so we must resort to the proffitable$wnasty business of suing to get our way.

      Cheers and hope you live in Europe,

    • by TheVelvetFlamebait ( 986083 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @08:35PM (#22723822) Journal
      Read your own quote again. They said "all illicitly uploaded and downloaded copyrighted material", not "all copyrighted material". That argument was a petty nitpick at terminology in the first place, but here, it's even more useless.
      • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @09:14PM (#22724102) Homepage Journal
        Ok then clever clogs.
        How do you know what is illicit and what is allowed?

        Is the content of the website you are downloaded owned by (for instance) perfect 10?
        Have I given permission to YOU to download a css stylesheet I designed for use on my website?

        Is the Code in the software update you are getting copyrighted to the person you are getting it from?

        Did the original rights owner give you permission to distribute that mp3 file to your IM friend?

        the list is endless.
        Without knowledge of what is illicit and what is allowed you might as well block the whole lot.
      • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @07:32AM (#22726626) Homepage
        Unfortunately the distinction between permitted and not permitted is meaningless, as is the distinction between copyrighted and public domain. The ISPs see bits and bytes, but these are not properties of bits and bytes. The exact same transfer that's illegal today will be legal in life+70 (barring more Mickey Mouse acts), bit by bit. That means the only possible way for ISPs to tell an illegal download from a legal download is to keep a database over all possible illegal downloads, which works for a plain unencrypted transfer. However, as anyone that's worked with SSL knows it negotiates a random session key so there's an arbitrarily large number of streams of bits and bytes that transfer the same data. Once we arrive at this stage the ISP is basicly checkmated, there's nothing it can do.

        What they are trying to do is to use the non-authenticated, plaintext nature of the negotiation phase as it is today to determine whether it's illegal or not. Creating an HTTPS version of torrents/trackers that doesn't leak anything to the ISP would be fairly trivial, so would adding authentication if the ISP tried its own SSL connection. At that point, the ISP is quite frankly guessing. They know you connected to TPB, but not what you searched for, what torrent you're getting and if it happens to be a legal download (many torrent aggregators just pick up everything) and you talk SSL to all your peers. There's no possible theoretical or practical way they can tell the difference between you downloading Ubuntu 7.10 (700MB) or a illegal DVD rip (700MB) over a torrent, the traffic patterns would be exactly the same.

        To take a practical example where this is already all encrypted, I can connect via NNTPS to my news server. How the hell is my ISP supposed to know what I'm doing? They haven't got the faintest possibility to know anything at all. Of course in this case there's a server at the other end they could go after instead, but in a P2P network it's simply impossible. P.S. For anyone trying to make the lame pun about "The first rule about Usenet..." it's near 30 years old, and everyone that cares to know already knows about it. The only possible way an ISP could prevent copyrighted works from going over their networks is to turn off the lights.
  • by WK2 ( 1072560 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @07:18PM (#22723258) Homepage
    I never heard of After reading the summary, I went to the website, to see what it was. I still don't know what it is, because it is in Hebrew. However, in plain English, they mention that they upgraded their servers, and they thank IFPI for the free advertising.
    • (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nbert ( 785663 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @07:50PM (#22723502) Homepage Journal
      I must admit that my Hebrew is not what it used to be ;), but it seems to be similar to rapidshare with the added benefit of searching the content.

      Makes you wonder why rapidshare didn't implement this, oh wait - that would prove that most of the traffic is infringing copyright. Plus it would make it easier to sue those uploading. *AA must love httpshare.

      On a more serious note I'm still surprised by the concept of keeping piracy down by going after those distributing it on the internet. Maybe that's the only way to go if you can't win in the long run. I'm still waiting for the hdd offering enough capacity to store all music ever produced. After that the one storing all movies is just a matter of time. Just calculate the current size of the ITMS and compare it to the growth rate of hard disks - makes it kinda silly to talk about this issue anymore...
  • common carrier? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blackcoot ( 124938 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @07:22PM (#22723288)
    does ireland have a legal concept similar to common carrier in the u.s.? i'm not a lawyer, much less an expert on the irish legal system, but it would seem to me that this case could only work in a country where common carrier laws are either non-existent or very weak. if ireland does have something like common carrier that would cover eircom then a win appears to essentially invalidate common carriers and make any isp that sends traffic through ireland potentially liable, even if both ends of the infringing connection are outside of irish jurisdiction.
    • Re:common carrier? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Atario ( 673917 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @08:41PM (#22723866) Homepage
      It seems to me a basic concept of Western law. For example:

      Should a toll road's owner be fined if someone transports illegal goods on it? Or required to search all cars that pass?

      Should Disneyland be fined if someone manages to smuggle in 'shrooms and consume them waiting in line for Pirates Of The Carribean? Or conduct drug searches and tests on all patrons?

      Should a taxi driver be fined if a passenger sneaks trash out the window? Or required to maintain all windows and doors to be sealed at all times?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by blackcoot ( 124938 )
        you would think, but given the creative lawyering and flagrant corporate abuse of legal systems across the world, you might well be wrong. if there's anything to be learned from the legal system(s) in the u.s., it is that it doesn't cost much to write laws to your advantage.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Hegh ( 788050 )

        Well put. If ISPs should be held liable for what passes through their networks, it stands to reason that telephone companies should be liable for what passes through theirs (which I'm pretty sure is protected by common carrier laws in the US). The police don't try to stop people from discussing illegal activities over the phone, they just listen in when they get a warrant for a wiretap and catch the criminals in the act.

        I suppose it's understandable that the RIAA is unhappy about how things are set up,

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Secrity ( 742221 )
      ISPs and the ISP divisions of telcos in the US are not common carriers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by judas6000 ( 748273 )
      Ireland, as a member of the EU is granted "mere conduit" status by the EU.

      COUNCIL OF EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES (2007). Council directive of 21st June 2007 on Electronic Commerce (Terrorism Act 2006). (07/1550/EEC). Section 5 Paragraphs 1 & 2 read,

      "(1) A service provider is not capable of being guilty of a relevant offence in respect of anything done in the course of providing so much of an information society service as consists in--
      (a) the provision of access to a communication network; or
      (b) the tra
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Hegh ( 788050 )

        Interesting... If that exact law applied to the US, ComCast could be in bigger trouble than they are now:

        (2) The transmission condition is that the service provider does not--
        (a) initiate the transmission;
        (b) select the recipient of the transmission; or
        (c) select or modify the information contained in the transmission."
    • This is a bunch of lawyers with a mandate - "Try to sue!"

      Doesn't matter if they win or not, they're being paid to send out letters and harass people, hopefully generating some press coverage along the way.

  • I'd comply immediately once they provide me with working code that has no false positives and pay for it to be implemented too! Not all P2P is copywronged and not all HTTP is legitimate - telling the difference to a high degree of accuracy requires artificial intelligence we have not developed yet. So if it is impossible to implement then while they're at it they may as well ask for a Pony and a Ferrari too.
    • by Cheesey ( 70139 )
      Hmm. I thought they identified pirates by traffic analysis, e.g. connect to a tracker that is known to be sharing an infringing file, then keep a timestamped log recording the IP of everyone who sends you a part of that file. The logging part is automatic, but the connecting part is manual. They will only pick the files they are interested in; they are not going to police other people's copyrights. I can't see how this will produce false positives, although no doubt the pirates will use the old "my wireless
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        onnect to a tracker that is known to be sharing an infringing file, then keep a timestamped log recording the IP of everyone who sends you a part of that file.

        IANAL but this could cause problems.

        If the block is small enough it isn't covered by copyright (the same way Jive Bunny couldn't get sued for copyright infringement).
        Sending one block does not prove the user is sharing the whole file. Just because their bittorrent software says it has the whole file doesn't make it true. I'll admit the odds say they
        • why would you assume that someone who has unsecured Wifi then they must have no concern for privacy or security.

          I always keep my wifi open. it's just common courtesy.

          when my internet goes down, I log into my neighbours internet to do the online work I have to get done. I keep mine open so if they are in the same situation, they can do the same.

          really, how much harm can they do to your computer by using your wifi?
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by gmack ( 197796 )

            really, how much harm can they do to your computer by using your wifi?

            Your argument reminds me of a 3com sales guy who told me encryption isn't important for home connections since no one wants to break into your computer anyways. The problem is that it's not your computer they want; it's your internet connection.

            They could start spamming and get your account disabled. There was also the time I got called in to find out why the office internet was so slow only to discover that one of the neighbourin

            • Turns out he was using someone's wifi connection to browse child porn. Imagine having that traced to your ip. Given the current guilty until proven innocent attitude when it comes to crimes against children your likely to lose your house and job before they even bother (if they bother) to find out you were innocent in the first place.

              1. you have my IP records. its an open account, no encryption...look at this, (opens .bat file that reveals internet activity) my neighbour, the creepy grade 3 teacher, is using it right strange...
              2. you have a list of the material that was downloaded.
              3. Here is my hard drive,
              4. here are all of my monthly backup disks
              5. if you find any of that material, let me know.

              the police are people, too. if you are kind, pleasent, honest, and up front with them, they tend to not be dicks.

              as for the DoS att

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by gmack ( 197796 )

                the police are people, too. if you are kind, pleasent, honest, and up front with them, they tend to not be dicks.

                I completely agree with you. I just find that being human some topics make people go completely off the wall. I agree that every child porn creator should be nailed harshly but I find that the search for them tends to be in the witch hunt category.

                I think I will check my wifi activity more often. but because most of my neighbours are really freaken old, i don't think i have to worry abou

  • by MichaelCrawford ( 610140 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @07:37PM (#22723416) Homepage Journal
    File sharing is crucial to the success of musicians such as myself who offer free downloads of their music. We do this to promote our work, and to gain fans.

    But direct HTTP downloads can bankrupt a struggling musician if their music suddenly becomes a hit. To allow mass distribution at modest expense, I offer Bit Torrent downloads [] of my music.

    I can't really see how an ISP could filter out copyright infringement without also filtering out files that are non-infringing.

    Bit Torrent distribution is also crucial to Free and Open Source software projects, whose installers are sometimes hundreds of megabytes or even gigabytes in size.

    In the debate about file sharing, please speak up for the legal uses of it.

    And yes, I know I can host my work on free sites like MySpace, but then it would be MySpace's website and not my own that would benefit from links placed by fans. For business reasons, it's much better for a musician to have their own website if they possibly can.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      OK, I'm not a CompSci and I'm hazy on how the whole internet thing works (beyond the well-known fact that it's a series of tubes, of course.) So, what I'm wondering is whether there's anything that distinguishes illegal files from others as they're traversing the tubes? Or would the ISP just have to block all filesharing regardless of legality, rather than risk allowing copyright-infringing files through?

      I guess what I'm asking is whether the technology is available to make it possible for the ISP to do
      • You'd have to compare the general sound of audio files to known audio tracks whose copyright owners don't license them for sharing.

        But you can't do a bit-for-bit comparing, or a hash, because there are a lot of ways to change the precise data in a file without changing what it sounds like in a way that is noticable to the human ear.

        For example, you could re-compress it to a different bit rate, or transcode it say from MP3 to Ogg Vorbis, or what have you.

        I'm sure there are known algorithms that can tel

        • it would be so computationally expensive that no ISP could afford to actually implement it.

          Agreed. The discussed uses of this kind of technology were for sites like YouTube and MySpace. The key difference is, an ISP would somehow have to do the same filtering in realtime.

          Of course, leaving asaide the issue of trying to match tracks without having more than snippets of the data. The reality of many P2P technologies is that pieces of the file are fetched in a more or less random order. Not particularly conducive to any prospective filtering.

          More than likely, the IFPI would want wholesale block

    • by xaxa ( 988988 )
      Thank you! It's not my favourite kind of music, but I'll pass it on to my flatmate when he gets back from holiday and he'll appreciate it much more than I can.

      MySpace is horrid purely for functionality, it's awkward to download and I frequently have problems.

      (PS, I'm amazed that US Post won't post to North Korea. I wondered if Royal Mail (UK) would, and the answer was yes -- but post by the 7th December to make Christmas ;-).
    • by Beer_Smurf ( 700116 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @08:43PM (#22723886) Homepage
      "File sharing is crucial to the success of musicians such as myself who offer free downloads of their music. We do this to promote our work, and to gain fans."
      And that is one of the reasons it must be stopped.
      You are the real enemy.
    • by CustomDesigned ( 250089 ) <> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:39PM (#22724580) Homepage Journal
      File sharing is crucial to the success of musicians such as myself who offer free downloads of their music. We do this to promote our work, and to gain fans.

      People here are unclear on what the RIAA and their European cousins are trying to do. They are not dummies, and they know perfectly well that personal sharing ("piracy") actually helps their sales. They also know perfectly well that these lawsuits will not stop real piracy ("Psssst. Honorable Sir! Look here! 5 CDs for one dollar!"). They are willing to forgo those lost sales in pursuit of their real purpose. The purpose of the lawsuits is to create a climate of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) surrounding *legal* downloads. That is because what they *really* hate is not "piracy", but independent musicians. By stifling music sharing, they stifle independents, and keep the music distribution monopoly to themselves. They don't especially hate FOSS, but they don't feel especially guilty about innocent bystanders getting nailed either.

  • by Zombie Ryushu ( 803103 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @07:42PM (#22723462)
    These people are ripping apart the infrastructure of one of Human kind's greatest achivements over their petty squabble. I'm really sick of it, and it would be easier if these people just got the hell off our planet. Fuck thesse people. Fuck the DMCA, Fuck the IFPI, fuck the EUCD, fuck it. I'm sick of these monsters that want to drag us down into the dark ages with their greed. Its just sick.
  • HTTPShare (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I have never heard about it (not much of a downloader myself) and just went to check. Apparently my provider decided to implement the court order by modifying their DNS thingy. Well, /me (an OpenDNS user) not notices.
  • Abbetting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by foxylad ( 950520 )
    So if this succeeds, can we expect people to start suing the Ministry of Transport because the proceeds of (real!) crime are traversing their road network unimpeded?
  • Censorship and P2P (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sloppy ( 14984 )

    I wonder if we're going to see a change in the role of P2P. It used to be about evading responsibility due to the mistaken idea that P2P was anonymous.

    Somewhere along the way, people wised up to that nonsense, and it started to be about performance (though at the cost of efficiency, which really pisses off the ISPs).

    Lately, it seems we're seeing a lot of censorship of websites, either by forcing ISPs to block, or forcing DNS registrars to remove the name. I guess the websites were a jumping-off point to

  • "IFPI sues ISP to force use of magical, non-existent software to "filter their network".

    Perhaps it's time to bring back the evil bit.
  • by Soloact ( 805735 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @08:16PM (#22723682) Homepage Journal
    I really don't understand how the RIAA can do what they've been doing, what with the legal actions, blocking, etc, "for the artists". The "artists", which are the songwriters, song publishers and song performers, are represented by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and the sort, for the payments and receipts of royalties, in addition to the Library of Congress and copyrights (including International agreements). IMHO, the RIAA, and their sort, are nothing but mobsters, trying to rough-up people via the legal system instead of street "hits".
    • Well, they're mobsters who are bought-and-paid-for by the big studios (who, themselves, are not exactly shining examples of good behavior.) They're funded to the tune of several hundred million dollars a year, in the United States alone. They sure behave in a mob-like fashion, it's true, but they're on a payroll. The studios are the ones who should take the blame, and are the only ones that can call off their dogs.
      • by Soloact ( 805735 )
        It's really not the studios that are doing these things, as they are separated from the big music corporations. Yes, some of the big corporations own their own recording studios, but most of them are independent. The studios only make what they are paid in rentals, and also if one of their employees is hired to be an engineer or producer. The only thing that the big music corporations have going for them is that they front money to bands (calling them "recording contracts") at high interest, and stamping th
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ScrewMaster ( 602015 )
          Oh, I agree, I misspoke me. When I said "studio" I really meant "big bloodsucking content distribution company", ala Vivendi, Universal, etc.
    • Except for the very famous, smart and powerfull ones, the artists who sign with the big record compagnies do not own the rights to their creation and usually only get monkey points, that is nothing if they are lucky.
      In the past, record compagnies controled everything because they were the only way to get your music published and therefore had the upper hand. Now, they control everything because they say so.
  • This is the same misguided ideology that once tried to ban the steam engine and video recorder [].

    I just got done reading the Times Atlas of World History and this seems like the modern equivalent of heresy -- threatening the established economic order of copyrights.

    Hopefully in the annals of history this will merit just a sentence or two in the wider scope of things.
  • (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MMC Monster ( 602931 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @08:35PM (#22723820) fine from here. They're apparently thanking IFPI for the free advertising. :-)
  • Thats IFPI, Not IRAa (Score:3, Informative)

    by SlashWombat ( 1227578 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @08:45PM (#22723904)
    So, they didn't call it the RIAa, in Europe ... It was too close to IRA?

    Seriously, the technology to filter gigabytes per second traffic looking for specific music signatures does not exist at a reasonable price point. And, as others have pointed out, simply Zipping the file would be enough to bypass any packet inspection anyway. (In fact, it would need to inspect the entire stream, because packet inspection would be insufficient!) (Let alone the variety of compression formats that currently exist.)

    I would not be at all surprised that if you encode analog audio files to MP3 that each version would produce different digital streams. For digital files, the addition of several random bytes just before the stream to be encoded would produce the same result. (That is, totally different looking digital data streams.) At the very worst, the added few bytes might produce a click. (even that could be kept inaudible!)
    Alternatively, multiply the data by some small factor during encoding. (EG:Data * 0.995 would be inaudible, but the resultant MP3 stream would definitely not match any SIMPLE filtering stream.

    IF the RIAA were to provide the filtering hardware to each and every ISP, that might get them to install it, given that filtering does not slow down the ISPs traffic.
    If the filter isn't 100% effective, and falsely terminates legitimate streams, then the RIAA [IFPI] would be liable, not the ISP. Lets see how long the RIAA would last after that!

    I would say that the RIAA needs to demonstrate to the courts that 100.00000000% accurate AUTOMATED detection (especially at the data rates an ISP might have!)is possible before they can even begin to suggest the ISP is involved. I will lay money down that they cannot even demonstrate 10% reliable detection rates. (Indeed, I personally think the ISP does not have the authority or the responsibility to inspect/filter any traffic.)
  • Mrs Kattie Mac Craith is suing the Irish dept of transport for allowing cars on the same roads as children.
  • > The lawsuit accuses Eircom of abetting illegal downloading by allowing copyrighted
    > material to traverse its network unimpeded.

    Wow. How about suing tollway operators for allowing illegal drugs/weapons/stolen goods/etc to traverse their tollways unimpeded? Or the state for that matter, that operates public roads? Or the public transport operators?

    The "intellectual rights" industry is just getting more and more insane with each passing day. Next they will sue the electricity board to provide support f
    • The "intellectual rights" industry is just getting more and more insane with each passing day

      Did yyu mean to say "The "intellectual rights" industry is just getting less and less intellectual with each passing day"? :-)
  • As stated in an article here [], Irish music sales has seen a steep decline of just over €40m in 7 years. They attribute this to filesharing, but I think that's bollocks. First, that is a drop of roughly 33%. Broadband penetration in Ireland is still one of the lowest in the EU. AFAIK, something like 40% of households now have broadband. It is now 2008, the decline has been happening since 2001, and trust me, in 2001 if you were one of the extremely privledged few who could even get broadband in Ireland y

  • Soon the music industry will die just as the buggy-whip industry died at the invention of the mass produced automobile.
    Artists will promote themselves on a level playing field and the necessity of a corrupt middleman will be antiquated.
    Music will be distributed freely and artists will live off performance revenues. You can't bottle music like beer to sell ,just like you can't charge for air.
    Music is information and longs to be free and will break all bonds to be so. filesharing will still flourish in E

Air is water with holes in it.