Spy v Spy – Warner Brothers wants you? & Oink case dropped, is the DEB a pipedream?

University in my day used to be about studying hard and having a little fun in the process. Who are you sharing a flat with?

It’s being reported that if you are a student studying a computing related degree at Manchester University and are get an application in before the 30th of March, you can apply for a position as effectively a revenue protection officer for Warner Brothers whilst studying. Good idea? Well, in my opinion, yes. From what I’ve seen far of the many people involved with the tackling of the issue, they are totally unsuitable for the task. I would feel far more comfortable with the idea of cases being initiated by someone who is tech savvy rather than a firm who has outsourced the plethora of tasks to 3rd parties.

So what will the job entail? It seems from the job description that Torrent Freak reports, that it will involve signing up to private trackers and searching for Warner Brothers material.

Oink member case dropped

Mathew Whyatt meanwhile (the nineteen year old who was charged a while ago with distribution offences), has seen his case dropped at court, undoubtedly giving further evidence to those with a pro-piracy view who believe that in some cases there is a dis-proportionate response to an issue which is seemingly trying to criminalize a large cross section of the community.

Thats one view and on the other we have the owners of IP desperately trying to protect their revenue.  I think this is an issue on both sides and as I said before, until a resolution is agreed then we will continued to see perceived heavy handed tactics by the entertainment industry and blatant disregard/delight at the spreading of that material by file sharers.

This is also why for me the DEB is unworkable.  Regardless of your views on piracy, there have been people wrongly accused.

Mathew Whyatt had this to say in regards to the CPS dropping his case:

I’m delighted the CPS has finally decided to end this misguided and disproportionate prosecution.

and the Mirror (amongst others) has reported this.

So how does this look for ACS: Law (and others) who have served notice on alleged file sharers?   Well, whilst those notices are in the remit of a civil court (and not a criminal case as was Mathew’s) comments by those representing Mr Whyatt:

Matthew Wyatt was the victim of a cynical attempt by the record industry to legitimise its heavy-handed tactics and dubious methods by using police resources and the public purse…

will surely not give confidence to any company considering employing a law firm to act as revenue collectors on their behalf.  One only has to look bad at the press that Atari received for engaging in the same tactics and wonder if it was the bad PR surrounding these letters or the allegation that the company they were using also represented the porn industry?  That allegation is made herehere, as well as hundreds of other sources on the net.

For me two questions arise out of this:

a/ Who exactly are the clients of these firms (In respect of ACS:Law et al)? Ive seen a list of titles of pornography which have hadletters sent out and quite frankly it makes for rather distasteful reading.

b/ and what of these adult titles? If the material has not received a BBFC classification then surely the material is not legal in the UK.  How can a civil case for effectively damages be heard in a UK court when the material is not permitted to be sold or displayed anyway?  Last time I checked the BBFC had to classify any title released in the UK, looking at some of the names on that list, I would suggest any such classification would not be forthcoming.

Dodgy titles and civil cases? - No sex please, we're British (Btw very good UK comedy)

I’ll let you decide what you make of the Oink case.  Should it have ever been a criminal matter? Keeping in mind that I only know what I have read online, I’d suggest there was maybe more to the arrest than merely sharing of data.  I would suggest there would be some financial offences in respect of the money that Oink allegedly made which formed some of the charges.  Maybe there was an allegation of theft in respect of any pre-release titles? I don’t mean the data but more a “master” CD or similar from the company concerned.  Who knows? We we do know though is Mathew has had he case dropped and is not guilty of any offence.

And finally we move (yet again) onto comments surrounding the DEB.  This is due for its second reading shortly.  There are many who think it a bad idea and whilst I think in principle it’s a step in the right direction, it has not been properly considered or thought out in the state its currently in.

As for ACS: Law, Im going to ask them if they would kindly consider answering a few questions for a future article and maybe clear up a few points.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Thats one view and on the other we have the owners of IP desperately trying to protect their revenue.

    Actually it’s not IP, it’s copyrighted material, and in most cases it’s not the copyright owner who is complaining, it’s their record label.

    I’ll let you decide what you make of the Oink case. Should it have ever been a criminal matter? Keeping in mind that I only know what I have read online, I’d suggest there was maybe more to the arrest than merely sharing of data.

    If OINK was at fault, so is Google. Try doing a google search with the words ‘filetype:torrent’, and see what you get.

    I would suggest there would be some financial offences in respect of the money that Oink allegedly made which formed some of the charges.

    It appears that most of the money that OINK made went for bandwidth costs, and this is why the prosecution didn’t attempt to do that.

    Maybe there was an allegation of theft in respect of any pre-release titles?

    The problem here is that the pre-release titles were not torrented by Alan Ellis, but instead by record industry insiders. Alan Ellis had no way to know if a torrent that was uploaded was a pre-release title or not.

    It’s the same with the pre-release torrent of Wolverine that was doing the rounds. It was incomplete, and didn’t have most of the CGI. Joe Average wouldn’t have access to something like this, it had to come from an industry insider.

    Or the leak of ‘Rose’, the first episode of the new Doctor Who, which made it onto torrent sites a couple of weeks before it was shown on TV. Again, this was leaked by an insider.

    How can you blame a torrent site for the actions of industry insiders?

  2. openbytes says:

    Hi!

    “Actually it’s not IP, it’s copyrighted material, and in most cases it’s not the copyright owner who is complaining, it’s their record label.”

    Fair point, although I use the generalization mainly with the view “copyright”, “Victim”, “Infringement” Intellectual property could be as you describe (in that its copyright issue) or could be the case of the bedroom coder who tries to sell his/her work where they have ownership of intellectual property of the product.

    The naming though is merely semantics since we all understand what is defined as infringing copyright and understand the issues surrounding it. If people didn’t then why would they use Peer Guardian (for example) to try to evade “capture”.

    “If OINK was at fault, so is Google. Try doing a google search with the words ‘filetype:torrent’, and see what you get.”

    Not really, although I did ask this question. In the case of Oink, donations were given directly to them from members, Google seeks its revenue from advertising and services rather than saying to users “get more torrent content by donating to us” Google does not advertise itself as a BT tracker and to be fair its not, its merely linking to other sites that have already indexed the material.

    Unless you suggest that Google should censor its results?

    Quote “It appears that most of the money that OINK made went for bandwidth costs, and this is why the prosecution didn’t attempt to do that.”

    This is the point most people miss. Even if what you say is true, it matters not. The bandwidth costs need to be met, if they are being paid for by the donations its no different to the money going straight into the pockets of those admins. The offence would be looked at in respect of the fact that money WAS earned, not the final destination of that money.

    “The problem here is that the pre-release titles were not torrented by Alan Ellis, but instead by record industry insiders. Alan Ellis had no way to know if a torrent that was uploaded was a pre-release title or not.”

    and that is a matter that MUST be determined in court, it cannot be left for the officers attending to make their own judgements, that would not be fair to either Mr Ellis or the alleged “victims” in the case.

    “It’s the same with the pre-release torrent of Wolverine that was doing the rounds. It was incomplete, and didn’t have most of the CGI. Joe Average wouldn’t have access to something like this, it had to come from an industry insider.”

    I would dispute that. Joe Average did have access since when the story broke it was on every public tracker going (including a flood of dupes on the binaries) It was listed in packetnews too and openly available in many of the “warez” IRC channels. The reason I know that is because I was asked to collect data (on behalf of a dissertation for a friend) who was writing about the social implications of piracy. Up until Jan 10 I was observing stats in relation to filesharing and explains why I have rekindled my interest in discussing the subject more deeply.

    Quote “How can you blame a torrent site for the actions of industry insiders?”

    Easy – knowingly facilitated. If as you say it was released pre, why didn’t the admin delete the torrent? Surely to leave infringing material in situe does not look good when there is a court case against you trying to show you facilitated the downloading of infringing material.

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