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CEO Shawn Hogan Takes on MPAA 491

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the how-long-till-it-stops dept.
IAmTheDave writes "Shawn Hogan, CEO of Digital Point Solutions, has found himself on the receiving end of an MPAA lawsuit claiming he downloaded a copy of 'Meet the Fockers' on Bittorrent. Mr. Hogan both denies the charges as well as claims he already owns the movie on DVD. After being asked to pay a $2500 extortion fee, Mr. Hogan lawyered up and has vowed to challenge and help change the MPAA's tactics. 'They're completely abusing the system,' Hogan says. Although expecting to pay well over $100,000 to defend himself, he claims 'I would spend well into the millions on this.'"
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CEO Shawn Hogan Takes on MPAA

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  • Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot&uberm00,net> on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:44PM (#15777855) Homepage Journal
    My guess: They'll drop the suit against this guy, but continue to threaten those that don't have the means to fight back.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:46PM (#15777868) Journal
    I personally would like to extend a helping hand to Shawn. If he wants to take this to court, I would like to pay him a simple $10 through Paypal for fighting the good fight. I've given the same donations to Slashdot and many many opensource projects (especially those on SourceForge) that have made my life easier.

    I would like to live in a world where I'm not worried about some organization of rich bastards strong arming citizens out of hard earned cash. There have been several cases so far where people have been charged with little or no evidence. The methods by which they obtain their evidence is even shadier.

    If you're reading this, Shawn Hogan, please leave some contact info so we can donate small sums of money to aid in your defense.
  • class action (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info.devinmoore@com> on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:46PM (#15777873) Homepage Journal
    The point is that if he can force something like a class action, then maybe we can all jump in and get some cash back from the MPAA, even if you don't have enough money to defend yourself.
  • Not gonna happen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BigNumber (457893) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:47PM (#15777891)
    He won't get a chance to 'defend himself' unless he decides to counter-sue. The MPAA will simply drop the case and move on to a less aggressive victim.
  • Preferences (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Spytap (143526) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:49PM (#15777909)
    I'd much rather him take on the RIAA as they seem to be the more aggressive of the two when it comes to extortion schemes. The MPAA, for all it's faults, doesn't seem to be as gleefully entertained by the prospect of suing the pants off of everyone.
  • Give 'em hell (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 10100111001 (931992) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:51PM (#15777929)
    On behalf of the little guy everywhere... Give 'em hell, Shawn.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:52PM (#15777943)
    He'll have to spend tens, if not hundreds, of thousands, in order to avoid paying a $2500 penalty. The principles are trumped by the pragmatics.

    So, where are the politicians willing to try to put a stop to this? Let me guess, being paid protection money by the MPAA.

    This is no different than con artists fixing local officials to get out of jail free.
  • Extortion fee? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rydia (556444) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:53PM (#15777948)
    Okay? Having the thing doesn't give you a right to download a copy. I've yet to see a respected scholar in the field of IP law say anything like that. The justifications (fair use, generally, under the umbrella of time-shifting and/or backup media) don't hold up under analogy; you're creating a new copy of someone else's thing, not your own, and it's not fair use because you do not know the person.

    But, uh, sure. Extortion. Whatever. If he did (and we don't know if he did or did not) do this, than he'll likely get smacked for it. While the cartel's methods are utterly ruthless and uncalled-for, that doesn't diminish their legal rights.
  • by Tekzel (593039) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:53PM (#15777949)
    I admire your generosity, feel it is a little misplaced. I think he can afford to defend himself. It seems to me that you would be doing much more good by finding some regular joe that lives from paycheck to paycheck that is being harrassed by the MPAA or RIAA and donating to their defense.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:55PM (#15777969)
    That's what one lawyer said, but there is no chance they go through with the case. If they lose then it sets a very bad precedent (from their perspective). $2500 from one man isn't worth opening the door for other challenges, which could happen if they lose the case.
  • Re:Extortion fee? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PrescriptionWarning (932687) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:55PM (#15777980)
    Okay? Having the thing doesn't give you a right to download a copy

    why not? its just the same as backing it up yourself, only someone else did the hard work for you.
  • by Churla (936633) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:56PM (#15777989)
    Once he really shows some fight in him they will drop it and it will vanish.

    The more I see of their operations the more I think the MPAA and RIAA operate very much like local traffic cops. They want to give lots of tickets, and specifically to the people who will just pay the fines and move along. Then hoping that the "watch out, you could get a ticket" mentality will help them get the desired end result.

    On the other hand, if he effectively counter sues for defamation of character and/or some other damages done to him by their abusive litigation practices and sets a precedent for others it could open some doors. But then it's still up to others to get lawyers to do it. Make it where the counter suit is profitable enough and lawyers could start making money on the shark-like "we only get paid if you get paid" approach. But you have to put enough blood into the water to draw them out.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Danse (1026) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:56PM (#15777990)
    Well, if you bothered to RTFA it seems that the MPAA is doing exactly the opposite. The head of their antipiracy division is openly saying they're looking forward to a trial and verdict next summer.

    That's what they're saying now. Give it a couple months. They'll probably drop it quietly after everyone has forgotten about it.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:57PM (#15778003) Journal
    I admire your generosity, feel it is a little misplaced. I think he can afford to defend himself. It seems to me that you would be doing much more good by finding some regular joe that lives from paycheck to paycheck that is being harrassed by the MPAA or RIAA and donating to their defense.
    I don't think it's misplaced. Every case I've seen so far has been from someone folding under the MPAA or RIAA. I don't want to support that. I don't want to support money that came from an out of court settlement. I want the justice system to take a look at itself and really reconsider what the MPAA is doing to people. I want judges to stop handing out fines because the MPAA lawyers tell them the right things. I want to support the people that stand up to it. I don't care if he's a CEO or peon grunt with no cash, I'm going to support the person pushing for reform. I'm not going to support the person who just pays the obscene fine because they want to avoid the trial and lawyers. I want to support this guy if he's willing to bring the lawyers and cast doubt on the MPAA.
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:58PM (#15778013) Journal
    Unless the MPAA are 100% certain that they're going to win. They don't really believe that a pirated movie costs them $2500. They do know that these threats have a huge effect as a deterrent. If they lose the case, they'll lose the deterrent. If they drop the case (after costing Mr. Hogan a modest amount in legal costs), they'll retain the deterrent.

    In what way is it in the MPAA's interest to see this all the way to the court?
  • Re:Extortion fee? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Known Nutter (988758) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:59PM (#15778026)
    That's not the extent of the issue. Exposing the methods used by **AA to gather this "evidence" is equally important, and the legality of these methods deserves some scrutiny.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:00PM (#15778032)
    If his company offers a tangable product, I would be glad to buy it, in a show of my support. Frankly, this could be a fantastic advert towards me, an man who purchases either what I percieve as a quality product, or of those with an honerable intent.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot&uberm00,net> on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:00PM (#15778034) Homepage Journal
    I must admit, if they do go through with it, it'll be a hell of a lot more interesting than SCO. ;^)

    And just like them, they'll have no evidence that proves anything. Whether an IP address from a log from a P2P search bot is enough to convince a judge of the merit of the case... well, that's the interesting part.
  • Re:Extortion fee? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:00PM (#15778037)
    Having the thing doesn't give you a right to download a copy. I've yet to see a respected scholar in the field of IP law say anything like that.

    They wouldn't have to. In this country, the person bringing the suit/charges is supposed to prove THEIR point. If they can't do that, you can come to court and draw funny pictures all day if you like -- they (shouldn't) win.
  • by esocid (946821) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:01PM (#15778052) Journal
    oh wait....he's still a big guy.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jZnat (793348) * on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:02PM (#15778057) Homepage Journal
    They're worried about how you'd have to pay your lawyer by the hour, and the MPAA could afford to drag the case on and on while you go into debt paying your lawyer with little or no hope of getting that money back from the MPAA.
  • Re:class action (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dr_dank (472072) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:03PM (#15778076) Homepage Journal
    Yes, so the lawyers walk away with ungodly sums of money and the settlement class gets a shiny nickel. I'm all for the MPAA having to cough up, but I cringe when I think about who that directly benefits and who gets next to nothing.
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:05PM (#15778100) Journal
    They want to give lots of tickets, and specifically to the people who will just pay the fines and move along. Then hoping that the "watch out, you could get a ticket" mentality will help them get the desired end result.

    I'd like it if this was the way it worked. If there was an affordable but annoying cost to piracy (say $50-100), and easy means for the industry to obtain it, and an easy way to appeal against it, then piracy would be discouraged, the media cartels would be able to fund their anti-piracy efforts, and the pirates wouldn't get nearly as much sympathy as some poor schmuck being threatened by a zillion dollar lawsuit.
  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:06PM (#15778106) Homepage
    I don't see how ownership of the original media serves as "proof" that he didn't download it.

    Besides, with BitTorrent, you upload chunks of the torrent even as you download the file. What if he didn't download the .torrent of MtF, but rather seeded a .torrent of the ISO of the DVD he ripped?

    What if he purchased the DVD after viewing the downloaded torrent? It's still an unauthorized distribution of a copyrighted work, even if it did end up resulting in a sale that benefits the Plaintiff... if they want to sue because to them the principle of control is more important than the short-term profit of a unit sale, who are we to question such prioritization?
  • Re:Extortion fee? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rydia (556444) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:07PM (#15778129)
    Because distribution is a (very important) aspect of copyright. You do not have a right to distribute copies of what you have to anyone without permission of the copyright holder. There are exceptions, but getting something through bittorrent destroys the small number and familiarity requirements (remember, you're simultaneously uploading). Both the letter and spirit of the law that allows copying requires the "fixation" of the copyrighted work to be done by the person copying it, otherwise the sytem is wide-open for abuse.
  • by pfz (965654) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:08PM (#15778139) Homepage
    Check out the new documentary ALTERANTIVE FREEDOM to hear RMS rip the MPAA! (He also rips the RIAA for kicks!)

    http://alternativefreedom.org/ [alternativefreedom.org]

    It's too bad the thousands and thousands of people who have been "shaken-down" by the evil MPAA didn't have the money to defend themselves. Maybe someday people will realize they need to boycott the MPAA (and RIAA) and their affiliates in order to take back control of entertainment and their government at the same time.
  • Re:Extortion fee? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:08PM (#15778141)
    Okay? Having the thing doesn't give you a right to download a copy.Okay? Having the thing doesn't give you a right to download a copy.

    You seem to miss the point. Owning a copy allows you to say "But, why in the world would I spend 10 hours downloading a lower quality copy from the internet, which will not directly work on my dvd player without another 1 hours of computer time to make it compatible, when I already own the actual DVD of the movie?"

    That's a statement that for joe-sixpack on the jury, or the typical non-techie judge, would make perfect sense. And, as well, if he can show that he purchased the real DVD a long time before they say he downloaded, then the statement will make even more sense to joe-sixpack.

  • by punkr0x (945364) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:13PM (#15778189)
    Guilty until proven innocent, eh? I'd like to hear what proof the MPAA has that he downloaded this movie, before I worry about whether or not it was legal of him to download it. The "ownership" is far from irrelevent... it's him saying, "Look, I already bought your damn movie, what motive do I have to download it?" He has no burden to prove he bought it, they have to prove he downloaded it.
  • Re:class action (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doctor Memory (6336) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:17PM (#15778225)
    I cringe when I think about who that directly benefits and who gets next to nothing.
    Hey, if somebody beat up the bully who was stealing your lunch money and took his bike, iPod and cell phone and left you whatever you could scavenge from his backpack, would you really mind? He got his, and you got something, and he won't be bothering anyone anymore.
  • Attorney's fees (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LuminaireX (949185) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:17PM (#15778229)
    Although expecting to pay well over $100,000 to defend himself, he claims 'I would spend well into the millions on this.

    Is he kidding? If he wins he's obligated to seek reimbursement for his attorney's fees.

  • Re:Extortion fee? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rydia (556444) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:18PM (#15778238)
    People seem to say that him saying he owns it already is rebutting the fact that he downloaded it, rather than the fact that he was justified. Not only does it serve both purposes, he would be crazy to argue solely justification if he wants to win. Just as you can give multiple forms of a claim in the complaint, you can give multiple forms of defense against that complaint. So he is saying:

    With regard to the charge of copyright violation,
    (1) I did not do it, as evidenced by my ownership of a legally-obtained copy of the movie in question;
    (2) Or in the alternative, I did download the copy, but since I own a legally-obtained copy of the movie in question, my infringement qualifies as fair use and I was therefore justified in downloading it

    And, as I said in one response, court isn't just going in and flinging things at a jury, trying to convince them. The jury is given the law and has to apply what happened to it. If the instructions say "If he downloaded a copy from the internet he violated copyright" with no other instruction for a fair use defense, the jury is generally going to say he's in violation, regardless of whatever "The Man is out to get you" idea his lawyers get in through argument.
  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:20PM (#15778248) Homepage
    Also - just because you own a particular brand of car stereo doesn't mean you can go out and steal it too.

    I wish people would stop drawing such ridiculous analogies. You can't steal a copyrighted work by making a copy of it anymore than you can steal a person's soul by taking their picture.
  • Re:Extortion fee? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:21PM (#15778260) Journal
    Er. Owning it does give you the right, seeing as you've already paid for it.

    Morally, but not legally. Copyright law gives the copyright owner exclusive rights to control copying. Fair use offers some exceptions, but the exceptions are limited. It generally doesn't include downloading from the internet and most certainly doesn't include uploading.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tinkerghost (944862) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:21PM (#15778275) Homepage
    Actually, I don't think that any of their suits have actually been through the court system. Right now, it seems that they get up to the point of walking through the door & then drop the suit.
    The courts can't rule on if their suits are viable/legal until one actually makes it through the door. If it goes to discovery & the courts uphold that they can't use the name/IP due to improper search/seasure then they're screwed.
    Failing that, they have the preponderance of evidence - I think I would pass out the latest figures on botnets, along with reports of Govt/military/police 'puters being botted. "Latest reports indicate 20% of computers connected to the internet are vulnerable to remote control via malware, can **AA show mine wasn't controlled at the time of the alleged violation?"
    Have the **AA bothered to track MAC addresses to show if there was an instance of IP spoofing, or simple IP overriding?
  • Honestly... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:28PM (#15778345)
    I'm waiting for them to have sued enough people that when they sue another person... the entire jury is full of their victims... That is when they will fail.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechForensics (944258) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:28PM (#15778349) Homepage Journal
    They can't drop the case if the defendant files a counterclaim. Or if they do, they're still in court on the counterclaim. If Hogan wants to teach them a lesson, he'll make sure his counterclaim litigates all of the issues they don't want litigated, including some they'd be forced to litigate if they actually took someone all the way to court.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pilgrim23 (716938) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:30PM (#15778381)
    Lawyers care not one whit the veracity or validity of a claim. The only issue here is one of how long it can drag out to increase legal fees.

    Resolving these extortive issues should take place in a system of justice, not require a millionaire being harassed and wishing to fight the good fight. Being dependent on this is more feudal then modern.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:2, Insightful)

    by russ1337 (938915) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:34PM (#15778423)
    I suppose he *could* try and get them into court for some kind of criminal offense, but what would it be?

    Under International Drinking Rules you point your elbow at them and call 'false accusation', they are then required to 'down' their beer.

    Any dispute can be resolved by a good drinking game...
  • Re:Prediction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:35PM (#15778431)
    No, I meant you defend yourself.

    With a reasonable amount of study on basic law, it shouldn't be that hard at all. Weren't courts around before lawyers?
  • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan Ost (415913) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:39PM (#15778461)
    If there is an established pattern of dropping the case at the door, then
    perhaps some state attorney general could bring up charges against the RIAA
    for extortion/racketeering.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Squalish (542159) <Squalish AT hotm ... inus threevowels> on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:41PM (#15778479) Journal
    They're filing civil lawsuits, which are a different legal category than crimes here in the US. One key: Civil law goes on preponderence (51% convinced = hold the defendant liable), so a mere 'reasonable doubt' that you were using your computer is not a defense. They just have to convince a judge that you probably were, rather than proving it.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot DOT kadin AT xoxy DOT net> on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:43PM (#15778495) Homepage Journal
    I think there's a real risk that if you tried to represent yourself, a team of RIAA suits would be more than capable of just burying you in procedural minutiae, or wait until you slip up and make some sort of unfortunate mistake yourself and then get a summary judgement. You'd have to have a judge who was really on your side, and a lot of judges don't take too kindly to people who represent themselves, because they think it makes the trial take longer and thus wastes their time.

    The entire system is based around how many cases they can grind through in a week, not how fair or right the outcomes are. If you're perceived to be slowing things down, you'll have no friends to help you.

    The only self-represented, successful civil suits I've ever heard of is where the issue was really clear-cut: the other people were really evil and totally unsympathetic. While you and I might think the RIAA fits that bill, they might be able to pull off "artists rights" in the courtroom and make you look like the bad guy ... and then it's just a matter of the judge yawning as they procedure you to death.
  • by mmell (832646) <mmell@hotmail.com> on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:43PM (#15778496)
    Do the words "Millions for defense, not one penny for tribute!" ring any bells?

    Give 'em hell, Mr. Hogan!

  • by zakezuke (229119) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:43PM (#15778503)
    Besides, with BitTorrent, you upload chunks of the torrent even as you download the file. What if he didn't download the .torrent of MtF, but rather seeded a .torrent of the ISO of the DVD he ripped?

    I could be wrong but I think it's possible to throttle your upstream to 0. Whether this will actually "work" on bittorrent is beyond me.

    I don't see how ownership of the original media serves as "proof" that he didn't download it.

    The claim is he didn't download it, he bought it. Why would you bother to download something you bought? Well, there are some good reasons but still, to average joe jury it would seem silly.

    The thing about cases like this, it's just as likely that he did download it as if he didn't download it. Even on the best of days all they have is an IP address, which may be dynamic, which may or may not have accurate logs, which may or may not have been transcribed correctly.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Omestes (471991) <omestes@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:45PM (#15778522) Homepage Journal
    "A person who represents himself has a fool for an attorney"

    A truism. Law is such an intricate and complicated (conviluted) system that the average lay-person has no chance at understanding all of the precedents and oddness that is in law. Law is not for the people, it has long ago transcended "common law", and has become complicated for its own sake (if it was simple, lawyers would not be able to get rich, and thus it is in the law makers interest to keep it inaccesable).

    Even simple matters can quickly become lost in rhetorical complications (you are in violation of statuate 12, sub-clause 14, paragraph 2, line 3, word 142).
  • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:53PM (#15778596)
    "Defending yourself" in court isn't as easy as it seems. That's kind of like telling some random guy on the street that if he works out for a few weeks he can go into the ring with a professional boxer. If you were in shape to start with (or in your example, relatively smart and educated), you MIGHT be able to pull off a win, but 99% of the time you're going to have your ass handed to you.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eric76 (679787) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:56PM (#15778625)
    Defending yourself in court can be a real challenge that would pretty much require making it a full-time job.

    One problem is that you have to deal with all kinds of procedural issues, most of which are well known by the lawyers, but not by the rest of us. Failing to file the proper papers or filing after a deadline can seriously damage your case. If you fail to bring up the proper arguments at the right time, you may not be permitted to bring them up later.

    In other words, when you hit the ground, you have to hit the ground at full speed instead of feeling your way along.

    The legal system is designed for the perpetuation of lawyers, not to arrive at a just outcome.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schnell (163007) <me@sch n e l l . net> on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:58PM (#15778646) Homepage
    No, I meant you defend yourself. With a reasonable amount of study on basic law, it shouldn't be that hard at all.

    Describing an intellectual property civil lawsuit against people with law degrees and years of experience like this may just be a little cavalier. Let's try a little substitution here and see how it sounds:

    No, I meant fix your transmission yourself. With a reasonable amount of study on basic automotive engineering, it shouldn't be that hard at all.

    or:

    No, I meant perform a root canal on yourself. With a reasonable amount of study on basic orthodontics, some local anesthesia and a mirror, it shouldn't be that hard at all.

  • Re:Prediction (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Time_Ngler (564671) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @04:01PM (#15778676)
    When you use bittorrent, you are downloading as well as uploading. That's how they keep the bandwidth up, and why more peers usually means a faster download.
  • by windowpain (211052) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @04:02PM (#15778686) Journal
    If your native tongue is other than English, then ignore this. But if you're a native English speaker you should have proofread your piece before posting it. "Mr. Hogan both denies the charges as well as claims he already owns the movie on DVD." What you wrote says that Hogan denies that he owns the movie on DVD. The article says Hogan says he does own the movie on DVD. So you should have written something like "Mr. Hogan denies the charges and claims he already owns the movie on DVD."

    And please, save the "grammar Nazi" posts. If you can appreciate that writing clear code is worthwhile you should agree that expresssing yourself well in English is also worthwhile.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tinkerghost (944862) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @04:04PM (#15778696) Homepage
    The only evidence they seem to have is that they have screenshots of P2P software showing a time and an IP address, and the word of the ISP that at that time/date the IP address was assigned to my account.
    I suppose that's nice, but it would take me 10 minutes to make a screenshot showing the whitehouse.gov web server sharing kiddy porn.
    The other issue is that they don't just have to convince a Judge that it's a preponderance of evidence, they have to convince a jury. Given some of the behaviours of RIAA & MPAA, they might have a hard time convincing a jury that pissing into the wind is a bad idea. Add in the hysteria over bots/virii/trojans etc, showing that even pros like the military can't keep their systems clean may be enough there to point a jury to the conclusion that if I say I didn't do it, and **AA can't show anything else but that 'perhaps' my PC was involved, then they really don't have a preponderance.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrxak (727974) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @04:15PM (#15778791)
    The discovery process is itself going to be highly damaging to the MPAA as they will inevitably reveal methods they would rather keep secret.
    That's the real hope here in Shawn Hogan defending himself. The problem though is that if the MPAA simply drops the charges, the general public doesn't win, and the MPAA will just go find someone else to extort $2500 from. But hey, maybe there'll be some media attention from this, at least.
  • by Elsimer (126214) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @04:16PM (#15778808) Homepage
    http://www.zeropaid.com/news/6466/MPAA+v+Shawn+Hog an:+The+Zeropaid+Interview [zeropaid.com]

    According to the interview, he's decided to force the issue into court no matter what the MPAA does:

    CH: So your position is that you aren't going to settle and that you didn't do anything wrong?

    SH: Yep. At this point they have pushed me enough to where I'm going to do whatever I can to keep them from dropping the case. I can't prevent them from dropping it, but I am going to try and force them to go to a full trial. Basically, my lawyers aren't even going to file a motion to dismiss.

    CH: That would be great, it would have to be pretty embarrassing for them to go to a full trial that ends up clearing you completely.

    SH: It will set a precedent for everyone else, that's the whole point. Between the RIAA and the MPAA it's almost 20,000 people that have settled. All John Doe lawsuits, not a single one has gone to a final judgment. All these people settling for basically what adds up to extortion, I want to put a stop to it. At this point, I don't care what it costs. If they drop it, I will find something to counter with to keep it in court.
  • by SethJohnson (112166) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @04:30PM (#15778973) Homepage Journal


    The head of their antipiracy division is openly saying they're looking forward to a trial and verdict next summer.

    The head of the anti-piracy division is given incentives to bring cases to trial, etc. It's the other executives in the organization that will look at the potential costs involved for the MPAA and decide to throw in the towel.

    When Metallica sued Napster, it wasn't Lars Ulrich's idea. He's an utter moron. Instead, it was the record label's lawyers who convinced Lars to pony up the seed money to launch the suit against Napster. Because Lars is stupid, he convinced the band to go forward with suing Napster. Other entities hadn't sued because the legal outlook for a victory was doubtful. Metallica's lawyers had a client with more money than brains, so they were able to forge ahead. In a civil case like that, if Metallica were to lose, they would have had to pay their own lawyers AND Napster's legal fees. Same with this case. Either way, Metallica's lawyers would get paid for a lot of hours on the case. Same with the MPAA's lawyers.

    In the Napster case, dumb luck prevailed and Metallica won. In this case, I agree with the GP. The business managers at the MPAA are going to see the conclusion pretty soon and throw in the towell on this lawsuit.

    The other reason they'll abandon this lawsuit is to avoid the risk of setting a legal precedent. If this guy pushes the case to a victory, then it'll mean the MPAA won't be able to threaten the same legal action against other suspected movie downloaders. Even a newbie lawyer would be able to get these cases dismissed right off the bat by citing the decision in this case.

    Seth
  • by Clever7Devil (985356) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @04:55PM (#15779225)
    Really, the best part of this sanctimonious diatribe is that his correction itself is ambiguous. "Mr. Hogan denies the charges and claims he already owns the movie on DVD" can be read several ways. What the original poster was trying to say is obviously, "Mr. Hogan has denied these charges; furthermore, he claims to already own a legal copy of the movie." To me, the use of the conjunction "and" in windowpain's correction implies, "Mr. Hogan denies the charges, as well as denying ownership of the title." This, if I can wade through his run-on sentence, is EXACTLY the mistake he was trying to correct. If you're going to be a misanthrope, at least do it eloquently.
  • Men & Mice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:06PM (#15779338)
    I allways liked the DNS servers that his company sells. May have to see about getting a current copy for my office.

    Or wait, I used to have a license. So I can just bittorrent a new copy, right? Kidding of course.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:18PM (#15779460) Journal
    I don't see how ownership of the original media serves as "proof" that he didn't download it.

    It's not "proof", but it's certainly a nice bit of evidence to support his claim.

    Besides, you don't seem to realize that DOWNLOADING FROM A P2P NETWORK ISN'T ILLEGAL ON IT'S OWN... If he OWNED the movie already, and decided to download a BACKUP copy of it, HE HASN'T DONE ANYTHING ILLEGAL AT ALL.

    you upload chunks of the torrent even as you download the file.

    Good... Then let the MPAA just TRY to PROVE that someone who was DOWNLOADING it from him, was doing so illegally. Good luck with that.

    What if he purchased the DVD after viewing the downloaded torrent?

    Well then that would be a completely different situation. You, however, are just speculating, with no evidence at all to back-up this senario. I doubt the MPAA is any better.
  • by tomjen (839882) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:25PM (#15779531)
    Is being a big guy evil? If what his company sells is a product or service brought/used and therefore paid by people who want it does that make him evil? Sure if it is done trough shaddy tactics then he is evil. But not all rich people are evil.

    As for this he is battleing the MPAA - and has the finances to do so, let him and give the MPAA hell. Yes it would be better if the little guy could afford it, but so is unfortunetly not the case, so be happy that somebody is.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @06:03PM (#15779838)
    Granted we don't know if he 'purchased' the DVD after he downloaded it via bit-torrent, or if he actually downloaded anything for that matter, but lets say we give him the benefit of the doubt and state he purchased it prior.

    So he legally purchased a DVD for home use. And later he downloads said movie to his PC. Perhaps he didn't have the tools or software to put or watch the movie on his PC. Is that still considered home use of the DVD content? I'm not talking about distribution here, which is what the case will be about. I'm talking about the license of a copyrighted work in your own home. Under fair use, as I understand it, I can watch/rip a DVD to as many computers in my home as I wish. Thats what fair use is. Should not having the tools to watch/rip YOUR PURCHASED DVD on your PC restrict your ability to the CONTENT EQUIVALENT of your purchased DVD for your fair use rights??? Even if he did download it off a known illegal distribution network?? If downloading is all he did, and not redistibuting it to others, how is it illegal if he has a license for the CONTENT being downloaded??

    You can own a license of a distrubted content medium but that license only extends to that of the original media it came on?? Isn't that violating fair use??

    This will be an interesting case to watch, if the MPAA doesn't fold up its tent!!
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @06:11PM (#15779914)
    If I own the full DVD, why would I download a rip that is of reduced quality/content? I already have the whole thing. He doesn't have to prove anything, he just has to convince a jury that he's more right than the MPAA is. In this case, it means he has to cast enough doubt on their arguments that a jury finds they are without sufficient merit. Well, one of the ways is to show he owns a copy of the movie in question. A normal person is going to wonder why he'd download something he already owns.

    Remember this isn't a case of the MPAA having iron-clad proof and him having to find a technicality out of it. this is a case of the MPAA having exceedingly weak evidence, and him just having to provide a perponderance of counter evidence. He (or rather his lawyers) are going to do that by throwing out every thing that makes the MPAA's case look bad. They'll question the veracity of the logs, the credibility of the company that found this (the MPAA contracts it out) the reliability of the information from a BT tracker, the ISP's records, and so on. They'll do everything they can to make the jury doubt that he downloaded the movie and that includes pointing out the fact that he already owns a copy.

    Or rather, I should say they would if this ever goes to trial, which it won't. The worst thing in the world that could happen to the MPAA/RIAA with these shotgun lawsuit tactics is for someone to fight and win, espically in a high profile case. That establishes case law which establishes precident. Makes subsequent defenses much easier since people can just point back and say "Well the court found that the logs presented in case X were insufficient so the same thign should apply here." Courts have a lot of respect for case law.

    What will happen is the MPAA will talk tough while it's in the spotlight, and then once the public has forgotten, they'll drop the case.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @06:53PM (#15780251)
    Simply put, the Army and their suppliers are still reasonably loyal to the chain of command. (While Halliburton the company is making alot of money, Joe in accounting, not so much)

    When and if the "war on terra" depletes their morale enough is the only time armed insurrection stands a real chance of success. To go on a geek tangent, one of the major reasons the Star Wars Rebellion defeated the Galactic Empire was due to the X-wing and Mon Calamari Cruiser engineers' defection.
  • Donations here: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ahnteis (746045) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @07:05PM (#15780344)
    http://www.eff.org/ [eff.org]

    That's the request on his blog anyway -- he doesn't need the money, so if you want to donate, send it to eff. They'll be happy for it. :)
  • Re:Prediction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KingSkippus (799657) * on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @07:06PM (#15780351) Homepage Journal
    Can someone explain this overwhelming opinion in every RIAA/MPAA lawsuit thread? I'm sure the fee for filing a lawsuit itself isn't too high, otherwise the lower-classes simply couldn't participate. Assuming you don't have/need a job, what's preventing you from defending yourself?
    The plaintiff has to prove his point with a preponderance of evidence. I don't think they'll do that with just an IP address and a log from azureus.

    Because it's not as simple as going down to your local courthouse and saying, "Hey, I'm not guilty!

    They're not suing you in your home state. They're suing you on the other side of the country, where one of the packets may have passed through. Live in California? Hope you can afford a trip to Vermont. Live in Alabama? Hope you don't mind driving to Washington State.

    Oh, by the way, if you don't travel across the country and bother showing up at the appointed date and time, the judge issues a summary judgement against you. You lose, and instead of owing them $2,500, you now owe them everything they asked for, including attorney's fees, filing fees, your-nose-is-too-big fees, everything. It will end up being dozens of thousands of dollars, maybe even six figures. Your paycheck will be garnished. Your credit will be ruined. Forget ever being able to buy a car again, you'll be lucky to be able to buy food. (But that's okay, because no insurance company would ever carry you, anyway...)

    But let's say you do make the trip and show up. Now their lawyers file all sorts of motions to keep the case in the courts at least several months. Didn't you know that you'd pretty much have to live wherever it is they're suing you now? Of course, you can just hire a lawyer to represent you, but guess what, they ain't cheap.

    So you travel across country, get an apartment, hire a lawyer, and win your case. Guess what. Now they'll appeal the decision, and you get to repeat the process all over again. Then, they'll sue you somewhere else for another song, and you get to do it yet again.

    You get the idea. It's not called extortion because it's easy.

    This guy has the right idea. The only way to stop this crap is to suck up the expense, get a one-time final ruling on the issue, and then everyone can just hire a lawyer on the cheap to say, "There's the precedent, please uphold it." And for his willingness to go through a lot of time and expense so that the rest of us don't have to, I salute him. I hope he starts a legal defense fund, because I'd be willing to pitch in to help.

  • by aqfire (885545) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @08:09PM (#15780708)
    Your 'what-ifs' are interesting ideas... but according to him, he didn't download the movie. So, unless you can prove otherwise, I think he has a pretty valid case. Stating that he owns the DVD doesn't serve as proof that he didn't download it, but it seems to eliminate the incentive, don't you agree? Anyone with enough money to fight the MPAA's lawyers has enough money, and probably enough sense, to buy the DVD instead of downloading it.
  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @08:30PM (#15780794) Homepage
    The claim that he already owns the DVD is a claim. It doesn't refute any evidence (if any) that the MPAA may have, though. If they have server logs from Hogan's ISP, or from some server he allegedly downloaded from, and those logs can be established as reliable, which is itself fairly doubtful, owning the DVD isn't going to do him a bit of good.

    One can certainly download a DVD that one also happens to own. If the police arrest me for auto theft, pointing out that I already own a car won't by itself get the prosecution off my back, especially if they have evidence that indicates that I may have allegedly stolen a car.

    The argument that taking any car that I happen to like and using it as my own ought to be the law of the land also is not going to work as a defense.

    Neither will the argument that cars are too damn expensive and car companies are greedy.

    I'm not a fan of copyright or of the MPAA, but beating them takes better arguments than this. Mr. Hogan may well get the case thrown out of court, and if he does more power to him, but even if he wins this case there's still a host of larger issues that will remain unaddressed.
  • by SonicSpike (242293) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @11:35PM (#15781500) Homepage Journal
    This problem is the result of electing attorneys to public office, specifically legislative positions. Lawyers want to make themselves as much work as possible, and by complicating procedures, increasing legalese, and promoting litigious liability, an attorney is now needed to do pretty much anything other than to paint your house. It is insane.

    Read the US Constitution sometime. It is written that any layman can understand it. Now go and read any piece of modern legislation. It is NOT as clear!
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @04:42AM (#15782412) Journal
    True. It would suggest that only the rich are protected from the MPAA's lawsuits though. Even if he gets all him money back, he had to have some to gamble on this in the first place.

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

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