Monthly Archives: July 2016

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CANADIAN REVERSE CLASS ACTION ANTI-PIRACY SUIT TO PROCEED

Canadian Federal Justice Boswell has ordered the disclosure of subscriber information in a pending reverse class action anti-piracy suit.

The suit involves the users of Rogers Communications internet services who have downloaded films produced by Voltage Pictures, including The Cobbler, Pay The Ghost, Good Kill (Clear Skies), American Heist (Glacier Entertainment) and Fathers & Daughters.

Judge Boswell wrote:

I am satisfied that the Applicants have adduced sufficient evidence, notably in the Affidavit of Daniel Macek, to show that they have a bona fide claim that unknown persons are infringing the copyright in their films. Consequently, they have a right to have the identity of the Subscriber revealed and disclosed for the purpose of pursuing their proposed class proceeding. This right flows from established case law such as that noted above; it does not flow from and is not grounded in any way by the “notice and notice” provisions of the Copyright Act.

The Judge then ordered the release of the subscriber’s name and address.

It is not clear from the order how many infringers may be affected, but it may be this will eventually reach any user of Rogers Communications that pirates any Voltage Pictures produced film.

 

Order: Voltage, et al., v. John Doe 2016-FC-881

Respect the Copyright : $5000 Default Damages

A recent default judgment from Chief Judge Mosman out of the District of Oregon states parties that ignore copyright claims may be facing stiffer penalties.

In Automata Productions v. Sperry, Oregon 3:15-cv-02283-MO, Chief Judge Mosman writes:

Statutory damages pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504 are awarded to plaintiff in the amount of $5,000 to give the statute full force and effect and indicate to the general public that plaintiff’s claims and these proceedings should not be disregarded or ignored.

Whatever else Mr. Sperry may be, he is now a part of a message to the public that copyright violations are to be taken seriously.

The full text may be found at:  USDC Oregon 3:15-cv-02283-MO Judgment and Order

 

University of Houston Takes Bold Step To Fight Piracy

In an effort to fight BitTorrent piracy and network abuse the University of Houston has announced that it will no longer allow BitTorrent traffic on its Wi-Fi network and may extend the ban to wired networks.

The “fix” is apparently quite simple and it is likely other major institutions will follow.

A full copy of the announcement:

Untitled_UH_Page_1

Sharing Internet With Neighbors A Felony?

In the most recent iteration of U.S. v. Nosal the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has held that using someone else’s password beyond the system provider’s authorization is a felony under the CFAA. (18 U.S. Code § 1030)

This is being reported as it might apply to things like Netflix accounts, commonly (though improperly) shared. But this opinion has applications far beyond things like Netflix, as it goes to just about any service or access that might be provided, including basic residential internet service.

As noted in the dissent by Reinhardt:

This case is about password sharing. People frequently share their passwords, notwithstanding the fact that websites and employers have policies prohibiting it.

So what happens when you share you Internet service? Arguably sharing internet service in violation of the terms of service is now a felony.

As noted by the court:

The key section of the CFAA at issue is 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1030(a)(4), which provides in relevant part:

Whoever . . . knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization, or exceeds authorized access, and by means of such conduct furthers the intended fraud and obtains anything of value . . . shall be punished . . . .

An examination of the terms of service for a common internet service provider (Time Warner) makes clear:

Your Right to Use our Services and Property is Limited

d) Personal, Non-commercial Use Only. The Services and Software are for your reasonable personal, non-commercial use only… You may not share our in-home Services or related Software with any person who is not a member or guest of your household or to persons outside your premises. You may not enable any person who is not a member of your household to access our out-of-home Services or related Software (for example, by providing them with your TWC ID and password).

This is further clarified:

(f) Theft of Service. If you knowingly access Services that you have not paid for, enable others to access Services that they have not paid for, or damage or alter our Equipment (or use Customer-Owned Equipment) in order to do so, you will have breached this Agreement and possibly subjected yourself to statutory damages, fines or criminal charges. Only TWC may service Customer Use Equipment. You will not allow anyone else to open, take apart or modify Customer Use Equipment.

Reference: https://help.twcable.com/twc_sub_agreement.html#section3

In other words – you are authorized to allow others in your home to use your internet service, but once they leave your home the authorization is revoked opening the door to CFAA liability.

So before you share your internet service with neighbors, keep in mind this may now be a felony under the CFAA.

But this should not be a surprise as most states have laws in place that already make theft of services criminal. Such as Texas Penal Code § 31.04:

(a) A person commits theft of service if, with intent to avoid payment for service that the actor knows is provided only for compensation:

(1) the actor intentionally or knowingly secures performance of the service by deception, threat, or false token;

(2) having control over the disposition of services of another to which the actor is not entitled, the actor intentionally or knowingly diverts the other’s services to the actor’s own benefit or to the benefit of another not entitled to the services;

(3) having control of personal property under a written rental agreement, the actor holds the property beyond the expiration of the rental period without the effective consent of the owner of the property, thereby depriving the owner of the property of its use in further rentals;  or

(4) the actor intentionally or knowingly secures the performance of the service by agreeing to provide compensation and, after the service is rendered, fails to make full payment after receiving notice demanding payment.

A full copy of the Nosal opinion may be found here: U.S. v. Nosal, 14-10037 (9th Cir. July 5, 2016)