Archive for the 'P2P File Sharing' Category

"The New Prohibition: A Look at the Copyright Wars through the Lens of Alcohol Prohibition"

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on July 9th, 2012

Donald P. Harris has self-archived "The New Prohibition: A Look at the Copyright Wars through the Lens of Alcohol Prohibition" in SSRN.

Here's an excerpt:

This Article argues that legislators, commentators, and the copyright industry must entertain laws that embrace filesharing, and seek other ways to incentivize artists and other creators. The Article traces Alcohol Prohibition of the 1920s and 1930s as an historical example of laws that were inconsistent with the vast majority of society's morals and norms. Looking back, one can see many similarities between the Alcohol and Filesharing Prohibitions. The Article suggests, then, that lessons learned from the failed "noble experiment" of Alcohol Prohibition should be applied to the current filesharing controversy. Doing so, the Article advocates legalizing certain noncommercial filesharing. A scheme along these lines will comport with societal norms and will force new business models to replace outdated and ineffective business models.

| Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography 2010 | Digital Scholarship |


"Catching Up with the RIAA"

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on May 13th, 2010

Walt Crawford has published "Catching Up with the RIAA" in Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large.

Here's an excerpt:

Briefly, Jammie Thomas was the defendant in the first case where an RIAA filesharing infringement suit actually went to a jury—despite RIAA's best efforts to avoid that happening. Thomas seemed like a sympathetic defendant: Single mother, Native American. But her IP address was attached to a KaZaA account offering more than 1,700 recordings with a user name she'd apparently used for years on several different accounts…and shortly after receiving a settlement letter from RIAA, Thomas had Best Buy replace the hard drive in her PC. And, under questioning, said it had been replaced a year earlier. To make a long story short—up to October 2007, at least—the jury found her guilty, not surprising given the evidence in the case. The judgment was for $220,000. She appealed the decision, in part based on a claimed flaw in the jury instructions. That's where things stood at the time of the earlier article.

Court activities can sometimes seem to be in very slow motion. Most of this article brings things up to date on the Thomas case—and, so you're not too surprised, it's not over yet. (There's other stuff about RIAA and copyright at the end of the article—but the Jammie Thomas saga is fascinating.)


"BioTorrents: A File Sharing Service for Scientific Data"

Posted in Data Curation, Open Data, and Research Data Management, P2P File Sharing, Scholarly Communication on April 15th, 2010

Morgan G. I. Langille and Jonathan A. Eisen have published "BioTorrents: A File Sharing Service for Scientific Data" in PLoS ONE.

Here's an excerpt:

The transfer of scientific data has emerged as a significant challenge, as datasets continue to grow in size and demand for open access sharing increases. Current methods for file transfer do not scale well for large files and can cause long transfer times. In this study we present BioTorrents, a website that allows open access sharing of scientific data and uses the popular BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing technology. BioTorrents allows files to be transferred rapidly due to the sharing of bandwidth across multiple institutions and provides more reliable file transfers due to the built-in error checking of the file sharing technology. BioTorrents contains multiple features, including keyword searching, category browsing, RSS feeds, torrent comments, and a discussion forum. BioTorrents is available at


Jammie Thomas-Rasset's File Sharing Fine Drops to $2,250 per Song from $80,000 per Song

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on January 24th, 2010

Michael J. Davis, Chief Judge of the Minnesota United States District Court, has ruled that Jammie Thomas-Rasset's file sharing fine be reduced to $2,250 per song from $80,000 per song.

Here's an excerpt from the ruling:

After long and careful deliberation, the Court grants in part and denies in part Thomas-Rasset's motion and remits the damages award to $2,250 per song—three times the statutory minimum. The need for deterrence cannot justify a $2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music. Moreover, although Plaintiffs were not required to prove their actual damages, statutory damages must still bear some relation to actual damages.

The Court has labored to fashion a reasonable limit on statutory damages awards against noncommercial individuals who illegally download and upload music such that the award of statutory damages does not veer into the realm of gross injustice. Finding a precise dollar amount that delineates the border between the jury's wide discretion to calculate its own number to address Thomas-Rasset's willful violations, Plaintiffs' far-reaching, but nebulous damages, and the need to deter online piracy in general and the outrageousness of a $2 million verdict is a considerable task. The Court concludes that setting the limit at three times the minimum statutory damages amount in this case is the most reasoned solution.

This award constitutes the maximum amount a jury could reasonably award to both compensate Plaintiffs and address the deterrence aspect of the Copyright Act. This reduced award is significant and harsh. It is a higher award than the Court might have chosen to impose in its sole discretion, but the decision was not entrusted to this Court. It was the jury's province to determine the award of statutory damages and this Court has merely reduced that award to the maximum amount that is no longer monstrous and shocking. Plaintiffs have seven days from the date of this Order to decide whether to accept the remittitur or request a new trial on the issue of damages.

The Court denies Thomas-Rasset's motion for a new trial based on the admission of evidence collected by MediaSentry. It further denies her motion for a new trial based on Plaintiffs' failure to produce certified copies of the sound recordings deposited with the Copyright Office.

Finally, the Court grants Plaintiffs' request to amend the Judgment to include a permanent injunction.

Read more about it at "Court Reduces 'Shocking' File Sharing Award" and "Judge Slashes RIAA's $1.92 Million Fine against Minnesota Mom."


U.S. Department of Justice Supports $1.92 Million Statutory Damages for Illegally Sharing 24 Songs

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on August 17th, 2009

The U.S. Department of Justice has submitted a brief to the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota supporting the $1.92 million statutory damages award that Jammie Thomas-Rasset must pay for illegally sharing 24 songs ($80,000 per song).

Read more about it at "DOJ Doesn't Believe $80,000 per Song Unconstitutional or Oppressive," "Justice Department Defends Massive File-Swapping Fine," and "US Govt Says $1.92M P2P Damage Award Totally Fair."


Irish ISP Eircom to Enact Three-Strikes Illegal File Sharing Policy

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on July 27th, 2009

Under pressure from the Irish Recorded Music Association, a large Irish ISP, Eircom, will put in place a three-strikes policy in August against alleged copyright offenders: first strike, a warning; second strike, Internet service will be "throttled," and, third strike, Internet service will be disconnected.

Read more about it at "Ireland's Largest ISP to Start 'Throttling' Illegal Downloaders," "Ireland’s Largest ISP Starts Throttling and Disconnections," "Recording Industry Sues More Irish ISPs for Not Implementing 3 Strikes."


France Passes “Three-Strikes” Copyright Bill

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Legislation and Government Regulation, P2P File Sharing on May 13th, 2009

The French National Assembly has passed the Création et Internet bill, a "three-strikes" copyright bill intended to curb illegal file sharing on the Internet by disconnecting offenders from the network on their third offense. The bill conflicts with a recently passed European Parliament law that prohibits EU member counties from disconnecting Internet users without judicial oversight.

Read more about it at "France Ignores EU and Passes Antipiracy Law" and "France Set for Showdown with EU after Passing 3 Strikes Law."


Informed P2P User Act Hearing

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Internet Regulation, Legislation and Government Regulation, P2P File Sharing on May 5th, 2009

On 3/5/2009, Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) introduced the Informed P2P User Act. The Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection of the Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on the bill today.

Here's an excerpt from Marc Rotenberg's testimony (Rotenberg is the Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center):

In the consideration of this bill, it is important to understand that P2P programs are used for a wide variety of function from the sharing of music to Internet-based telephony as well as scientific research. Even the military makes use of P2P networks. The technique is also important in countries where Internet censorship is a threat.

In the most generic sense, a P2P network is a technical description, much like saying a telephone network or the Internet. It is no intrinsic application, other than architecture that allows nodes to exchange information equally with other nodes in the network. Some Internet scholars have observed that this architecture reflects the collaboration among individuals that has helped spur the growth of the Internet. Professor Yochai Benkler refers to this as "Commons Based Peer Production."

No doubt part of the bill aims to discourage the use of file sharing techniques that may infringe copyright as well as making users vulnerable to certain types of inadvertent file sharing. But there is some risk that the bill would also discourage the use of file sharing techniques that do not raise such concerns. More generally, it appears to be posting a warning sign on a very wide variety of applications that most likely have little to do with the sponsor’s concern.

Read more about it at "H.R. 1319 Wants You to Know When You're Sharing Files, but Will Drown You in Pop-Ups" and "P2P Bill Could Regulate Web Browsers, FTP Clients."



Taiwan Passes “Three Strikes” Law to Curb Illegal File Sharing

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on April 26th, 2009

Taiwan's parliament has passed a "three strikes" copyright law, which is intended to curb illegal file sharing.

Read more about it at "Net Service Providers Now Can 'Strike Out' Pirating Surfers" and "Taiwan Boosts Intellectual Property Protection."


France Close to Passing Copyright Bill with “Three-Strikes” Provision to Curb File Sharing

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on April 5th, 2009

The French National Assembly has approved a key provision of a new copyright law that is aimed at curbing illegal file sharing on the Internet. Violators would receive two warning letters, then be subject to Internet disconnection for up to a year.

New Zealand has recently decided not to enact a "three-strikes" law, and will rewrite it. Recent enactment of a new Swedish law that requires ISPs to reveal the identity of potential violators has resulted in Internet traffic in that country dropping by a third. The EFF has recently debunked reports that some U.S. ISPs, prodded by the RIAA, would disconnect U.S. violators; however, Wired has reported that the MPAA is now in negotiations with ISPs regarding disconnection.

Read more about it at "France Approves Main Section of Tough Anti-P2P Bill," "French Pass 'Three Strikes,' File-Sharing Law: Oh Merde" and "French '3 Strikes' Law Passes 2nd Reading."


Tennessee's Higher Education Filtering Law to Cost State Institutions Over $9.5 Million to Start

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on November 18th, 2008

The Tennessee Fiscal Review Committee estimates that SB 3974, a recently passed state law aimed at stopping copyright infringement in higher education institutions, will initially cost state institutions over $9.5 million, with ongoing annual costs topping $1.6 million in FY 08-09 and $1.9 million in succeeding years.

Read more about it at "RIAA Gets Tennessee Law to Force Universities to Filter Networks for Copyrighted Content"; "RIAA Wins, Campuses Lose as Tennessee Governor Signs Campus Network Filtering Law"; and "Tennessee Anti-P2P Law to Cost Colleges over $13 Million."


Judge in Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas: Merely Making Available Not Enough for Infringement

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on September 25th, 2008

United States District Court Judge Michael Davis has ruled in the widely publicized Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas case that merely making a digital work available is not enough to constitute infringement, rather the work must be accessed and such access must be proved. Since this was not the instruction given to the jury, Thomas has been granted a new trial.

The judge also commented on the disproportionate size of the awarded damages ($222,000 for 24 songs):

While the Court does not discount Plaintiffs' claim that, cumulatively, illegal downloading has far-reaching effects on their businesses, the damages awarded in this case are wholly disproportionate to the damages suffered by Plaintiffs. Thomas allegedly infringed on the copyrights of 24 songs—the equivalent of approximately three CDs, costing less than $54, and yet the total damages awarded is $222,000—more than five hundred times the cost of buying 24 separate CDs and more than four thousand times the cost of three CDs. While the Copyright Act was intended to permit statutory damages that are larger than the simple cost of the infringed works in order to make infringing a far less attractive alternative than legitimately purchasing the songs, surely damages that are more than one hundred times the cost of the works would serve as a sufficient deterrent.

Read more about it at "Capitol v. Thomas: Judge Orders New Trial, Implores Congress to Lower Statutory Penalties for P2P"; "Judge Declares Mistrial in RIAA-Jammie Thomas Trial"; and "Thomas Verdict Overturned, Making Available Theory Rejected."


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