If other judges follow this precedent, it will be the death knell of civil litigation involving the internet in any way. I don't like how trolls do business, but I don't think changing the rules like this is a good idea overall.
This isn't changing the rules. This is following the rules.
See my article in the ABA's Judges Journal about how judges had been bending the rules for the RIAA. "Large Recording Companies v. The Defenseless: Some Common Sense Solutions to the Challenges of the RIAA Litigation". The Judges' Journal, Judicial Division of American Bar Association. Summer 2008 edition, Part 1 of The Judges Journals' 2-part series, "Access to Justice".
Remember, Malibu Media can just change venues too and start this all over again... This judge didn't do anything worth while for you and me and opened himself up to an appeal where he obviously will be slapped. About the only thing he accomplished is getting Malibu Media out of his courtroom and off his docket, for now. Nothing else will change.
I beg to differ.
Malibu Media can't choose the venue, or the judge.
If Judge Hellerstein's decision is followed by other judges, it will be the death knell of the present wave of Malibu Media litigation.
I fully appreciate your perspective and I agree that the waters are getting pretty muddy when you start trying to tie an IP address to a person, but the issue here is the issuing of the subpoena and not letting Malibu Media pursue discovery. They must be allowed to protect their rights in civil court, and that means they must be allowed to subpoena third parties for information so they can move from "John Doe" to an actual name and in this case, that takes a subpoena from the court.
While your argument for discovery has some logic to it, it is based on a false assumption of fact : that Malibu Media, once it obtains the name and address of the internet account subscriber, will serve a subpoena on that person in an attempt to find out the name of the person who should be named as a defendant.
Malibu Media's uniform practice, once it gets the name and address, is to immediately amend the complaint to name the subscriber as the infringer/defendant and then serve a summons and amended complaint, not a subpoena, on the subscriber.
This is in every single case .
I'm not so sure I agree that this make sense...
You didn't read the judges 11 page opinion then, where he makes his reasons very clear. Among other things, the trolls claim that they need the information to take people to court, but they never do; they just abuse the courts as a cheap way to get information for their blackmail scheme. The point that an IP is not an ID is exactly the point here, because the copyright troll wouldn't have any right to the name of anyone than the copyright infringer. And the fine judge found out that these copyright trolls have in several instances just ignored court orders and have just lied to the courts.
There's apparently a blanket rule against using the court system to conduct fishing expeditions.
If so, most judges have been unaware of it these past 10 years.
Hi Ray, nice to see the NYCL moniker around here again. I have a few questions if you're willing. First, you indicate that a judge has denied discovery due to several factors, one being that an IP address does not identify any particular individual. Can you speak to the weight or breadth of this specific Court's opinion here, in layman's terms? I see references to the Eastern and Southern districts of New York, might this decision influence cases outside of those jurisdictions?
It's not binding on anyone. But Judge Hellerstein is a very well respected judge, so it will probably have a lot of 'persuasive authority'.
Second, this business of "if the Motion Picture is considered obscene, it may not be eligible for copyright protection." I've read about certain cases where the Court stated that obscenity has no rigid definition, but "I'll know it when I see it." Does that have any bearing on the Malibu case? Was this some kind of completely outrageous pornography, where any community standard would likely find it to be obscene, or was it just run-of-the-mill porn? Would it matter either way? Would the opinion have likely been the same if the case involved a blockbuster Hollywood film instead of a pornographic and potentially obscene film?
I haven't researched that question yet, and I may well be litigating that issue in the near future, since I have several cases against Malibu Media which are now in litigation mode... so all I can say is, stay tuned.
Lastly, I'm curious whether or not you've kept up with developments in the case regarding Prenda Law, and how you might compare this case to that one, if at all. I try to read Ken White's PopeHat blog every once in awhile to see how poorly the Prenda copyright trolls are faring. It doesn't look good for Prenda, and I wonder if you would put Malibu in the same proverbial boat.
The Prenda people are a bunch of strange people who, based on reports I've read, may well wind up doing jail time. I know nothing about the Malibu Media people. If I did find out something really bad about them in would probably wind up in my court papers if relevant to the case or to their credibility.
I should clarify: I didn't mean actual expansion of the law. What I meant in regard to item "F" was: since when does difficulty of enforcement, even if they did prove it, justify loosening the standards of evidence? I did not think that was allowable.
Well I knew exactly what you meant Jane, even before you 'clarified' it.
Hi, NYCL! I haven't noticed you around here much lately. Is item F even a thing? Since when does the difficulty of enforcing a law allow judicial expansion of the law? I thought that idea had been thoroughly buried a long time ago.
I have to agree with you Jane Q. For 10 years I've been trying to wake the courts up to the fact that they're not supposed to bend the law to help content owners just because the content owners don't know who committed the infringement. Glad to see them coming around.
I think that if this troll can prove they have a copyright on the material and the right to enforce it, they will have a good case to appeal this decision and it will likely be overturned.
You also have to prove that the person you're suing actually committed the infringement. It's not enough that they paid the bill for an internet service account that somebody used to commit an infringement.
Nope, wrote it myself, asshole. But thanks!
...and your comment represents the absolutely fundamental misunderstanding that pervades this discussion.
The truth no one wants to hear:
The distinction is no longer the technology or the place, but the person(s) using a capability: the target. In a free society based on the rule of law, it is not the technological capability to do a thing, but the law, that is paramount.
Gone are the days where the US targeted foreign communications on distant shores, or cracked codes used only by our enemies. No one would have questioned the legitimacy of the US and its allies breaking the German or Japanese codes or exploiting enemy communications equipment during WWII. The difference today is that US adversaries -- from terrorists to nation-states -- use many of the same systems, services, networks, operating systems, devices, software, hardware, cloud services, encryption standards, and so on, as Americans and much of the rest of the world. They use iPhones, Windows, Dell servers, Android tablets, Cisco routers, Netgear wireless access points, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Gmail, and so on.
US adversaries now often use the very same technologies we use. The fact that Americans or others also use them does not suddenly or magically mean that no element of the US Intelligence Community should ever target them. When a terrorist in Somalia is using Hotmail or an iPhone instead of a walkie-talkie, that cannot mean we pack our bags and go home. That means that, within clear and specific legal authorities and duly authorized statutory missions of the Intelligence Community, we aggressively pursue any and all possible avenues, within the law, that allow us to intercept and exploit the communications of foreign intelligence targets.
If they are using hand couriers, we target them. If they are using walkie-talkies, we target them. If they are using their own custom methods for protecting their communications, we target them. If they are using HF radios, VSATs, satellite phones, or smoke signals, we target them. If they are using Gmail, Windows, OS X, Facebook, iPhone, Android, SSL, web forums running on Amazon Web Services, etc., we target them -- within clear and specific legal frameworks that govern the way our intelligence agencies operate, including with regard to US Persons.
That doesn't mean it's always perfect; that doesn't mean things are not up for debate; that doesn't mean everyone will agree with every possible legal interpretation; that doesn't mean that some may not fundamentally disagree with the US approach to, e.g., counterterrorism. But the intelligence agencies do not make the rules, and while they may inform issues, they do not define national policy or priorities.
Without the authorities granted by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA), the United States cannot target non-US Persons who are foreign intelligence targets if their communications enters, traverses, or otherwise touches the United States, a system within the United States, or, arguably, a system or network operated by a US corporation (i.e., a US Person) anywhere in the world. FAA in particular is almost exclusively focused on non-US Persons outside the US, who now exist in the same global web of digital communications as innocent Americans.
Without FAA, the very same Constitutional protections and warrant requirements reserved for US Persons would extend to foreign nations and foreign terrorists simply by using US networks and services â" whether intentionally or not. Without FAA, an individualized warrant would be required to collect on a foreign intelligence target using, say, Facebook, Gmail, or Yahoo!, or even exclusively foreign providers if their communications happens to enter the United States, as 70% of international internet traffic does. If you do not think there is a problem with this, there might be an even greater and more basic misunderstanding about how foreign SIGINT and cyber activities fundamentally must work.
If you believe NSA should not have these capabilities, what you are saying is that you do not believe the United States should be able to target foreign intelligence targets outside the United States who, by coincidence or by design, ever utilize or enter US systems and services. If you believe the solution is an individualized warrant every time the US wishes to target a foreign adversary using Gmail, then you are advocating the protection of foreign adversaries with the very same legal protections reserved for US citizens -- while turning foreign SIGINT, which is not and never has been subject to those restrictions, on its head.
These are the facts and realities of the situation. Any government capability is imperfect, and any government capability can be abused. But the United States is the only nation on earth which has jammed intelligence capabilities into as sophisticated and extensive a legal framework as we have. When the intelligence committees of both houses of Congress, multiple executive agencies under two diametrically opposite Presidential administrations, armies of lawyers within offices of general counsel and and inspectors general, and federal judges on the very court whose only purpose is to protect the rights of Americans under the law and the Constitution in the context of foreign intelligence collection are all in agreement, then you have the judgment of every mechanism of our free civil society.
Or we could just keep laying our intelligence sources, methods, techniques, and capabilities bare to our enemies.
âMany forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." - Winston Churchill (1874-1965), Speech in the House of Commons, November 11, 1947
"The necessity of procuring good Intelligence is apparent and need not be further urged â" all that remains for me to add, is, that you keep the whole matter as secret as possible. For upon Secrecy, Success depends in most Enterprises of the kind, and for want of it, they are generally defeated, however well planned and promising a favourable issue.â â" George Washington, our nation's first spymaster, in a letter to Colonel Elias Dayton, 26 July 1777
A Russian geopolitical analyst says the best way to attack the United States is to detonate nuclear weapons to trigger a supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park or along the San Andreas fault line on California's coast.
The president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems based in Moscow, Konstantin Sivkov said in an article for a Russian trade newspaper on Wednesday, VPK News, that Russia needed to increase its military weapons and strategies against the "West" which was "moving to the borders or Russia".
He has a conspiracy theory that NATO - a political and military alliance which counts the US, UK, Canada and many countries in western Europe as members - was amassing strength against Russia and the only way to combat that problem was to attack America's vulnerabilities to ensure a "complete destruction of the enemy".
"Geologists believe that the Yellowstone supervolcano could explode at any moment. There are signs of growing activity there. Therefore it suffices to push the relatively small, for example the impact of the munition megaton class to initiate an eruption. The consequences will be catastrophic for the United States - a country just disappears," he said.
"Another vulnerable area of the United States from the geophysical point of view, is the San Andreas fault - 1300 kilometers between the Pacific and North American plates