• Enjoy the freedom to innovate and grow your business

    [ad] With Microsoft Azure you have hybrid cloud flexibility, allowing your platform to span your cloud and on premise data centre. Learn more at microsoftcloud.com.

  • IT Admin: No Time to Save Time?

    [ad] Do you spend too much time patching machines or cleaning up after virus attacks? With automation controlled from a central IT management console accessible anytime, anywhere – you can save time for bigger tasks. Try simple IT management from GFI Cloud and start saving time today!

  • Free Forrester analysis of CRM solutions

    [ad] In this 25 page report, independent analyst house Forrester evaluates 18 significant products in the customer relationship management space from a broad range of vendors, detailing its findings on how CRM suites measure up and plotting where they stand in relation to each other. Download it for free now.

  • Great articles on other sites
  • RSS Great articles on other sites

  • Reader giveaway: Google Nexus 5

    We’re big fans of Google’s Nexus line-up in general at Delimiter towers. Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 … we love pretty much anything Nexus. Because of this we've kicked off a new competition to give away one of Google’s new Nexus 5 smartphones to a lucky reader. Click here to enter.

  • Telecommunications - Written by on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 15:44 - 18 Comments

    Some useful US context on mass piracy lawsuits

    One of the most striking things about the move by new company Movie Rights Group to start targeting thousands of Australians for allegedly illegally downloading copyrighted films is that it came out of the blue. Many people won’t know what to make of the issue, given that Australia doesn’t have a history of this kind of behaviour. But the United States does.

    Over the past week or so since the company’s actions were revealed, a number of readers have forwarded me several insightful articles detailing the history of similar companies in the US. And the picture they paint of this kind of behaviour is quite disturbing.

    An article by Wired in March this year makes it clear that for the new breed of organisations devoted to stopping copyright infringement on the Internet, enforcing their clients’ rights is not the prime objective. Making as much profit as possible from the issue is. From the article:

    “Welcome to the future of Hollywood, or at least the less glittery outskirts of Tinsel Town that produce art films, exploitation flicks and porn. Over the past year, small-budget film producers have nearly perfected a slick, courtroom-based business strategy that’s targeted more than 130,000 suspected movie downloaders.”

    “In contrast to the the RIAA’s much-criticized and now-abandoned war against music pirates — which targeted 20,000 downloaders in six years — the movie lawsuits appear to have been designed from the start as for-profit endeavor, not a as a deterrent to piracy.”

    The article paints a picture of organisations almost building copyright enforcement actions into the business model for producing films. The legal mechanisms for targeting alleged file-sharers are automated as far as possible; plaintiffs are entitled to settle and pay a ‘fine’ in a similarly automated process; and many will simply do so, having little to no knowledge of the broader legal debate.

    As in Australia with Movie Rights Group, the chief legal method which the copyright enforcement groups are relying on is mass-subpoenas. In a 2010 lawsuit filed by one of the more high-profile organisations, known as the US Copyright Group, a Washington District Judge approved subpoenas relating to more than a thousand Time Warner Cable customers.

    Another article published by Arstechnica in 2010 lays out a timeline of such cases, dating back to January 2010 and detailing the standard modus operandi:

    “The model couldn’t be simpler: find an indie filmmaker; convince the production company to let you sue individual “John Does” for no charge; send out subpoenas to reveal each Doe’s identity; demand that each person pay $1,500 to $2,500 to make the lawsuit go away; set up a website to accept checks and credit cards; split the revenue with the filmmaker.”

    Now, I don’t want to draw too long a bow here. Movie Rights Group has been extremely open with me about their activities in Australia, and I have to give the company credit for that. In addition, we haven’t yet seen what the company’s letters to alleged copyright infringers will look like. It is also possible, indeed, likely, that the company will become involved somehow in the wider industry solution to the issue of online file-sharing which is being discussed by parties including Australia’s major ISPs, the content industry and the Federal Department of the Attorney-General.

    But I think what has occurred in the US does sound suspiciously similar to the approach the company is taking in Australia. The same legal approach based on subpoenas. The same independent film studios who’ve got nothing to lose. The same style of web site, promoting the idea that those targeted through legal letters should “settle” the issue.

    In the US, civil rights groups, the courts and Internet users themselves have all expressed a great deal of concern about this kind of ‘commercial’ approach to settling issues of copyright infringement. It would be a dangerous thing indeed to start to treat the issue of online copyright infringement as an industry which makes revenues like any other.

    The aim here should not be to make astronomical sums from Australians who allegedly pirate content. It should be to find a solid and fair balance between those who produce and own content and those who want to consume it. As many have said before me, suing your customers is never a good idea.

    Image credit: Krystle Fleming, royalty free

    submit to reddit


    You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

    1. Posted 11/10/2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink |

      As I posted in the comments of another article, this is exactly why Movie Rights Group (and others) won’t be actively targetting the original person who put the file online to be shared in the first place, assuming of course it’s not a honeypot to begin with.

      It’s in their best industry for the files to be shared because it gives them more targets to sue or at least come to a settlement arrangement with.

      • Posted 11/10/2011 at 5:34 pm | Permalink |

        Yup. You’re right; in a commercial play targeting the source would (ironically) undercut their business model.

    2. mr murphy
      Posted 11/10/2011 at 5:47 pm | Permalink |

      Bit hard for them to target the original uploader when there is a good chance movie rights group are the original uploader….

      As has been said above even i they didn’t upload it they have a financial incentive not to stop this file from being shared as they would then have less people to sue.

      Surely that’s not what protecting copyrights was meant to be about?

      • Posted 11/10/2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink |

        I doubt they would upload the file themselves. Doing so would expose them to way too much trouble if it was discovered. It would essentially be entrapment.

        • Wayne
          Posted 11/10/2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink |

          Did the IInet have an AFACT connection actively participating in file sharing and in this same way acting to trap individuals?

    3. mr murphy
      Posted 11/10/2011 at 6:06 pm | Permalink |

      Well considering these copyright trolls have seen fit to appoint themselves as the police the jury the judge and the debt collector i doubt they fear being outed for uploading a file.

      They have no intention of ever going to court so the methods they use will never be scrutinized by the courts.

    4. None
      Posted 12/10/2011 at 12:23 am | Permalink |

      I’m just waiting now for some other lawyer to see the dollar signs in offering to defend people against these forms of extorsion.

      I’d love to see someone like anonymous hack their payment site to send payments directly to some kiddies charity.

    5. Anonymous
      Posted 12/10/2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink |

      “a Washington District Judge approved subpoenas relating to more than a thousand Time Warner Cable customers”

      Do we do that in Australia? Is a judge ever likely to approve this, given the current status of the iinet case?

      If there is no subpoena (again, is that the right term in oz?) can’t recipients safely ignore Movie Rights groups communications?

      • Dean Harding
        Posted 12/10/2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink |

        Movie Right Group can’t even contact users without the subpoena. The subpoena is given to the ISP to force them to hand over the names & addresses of users — without it, all Movie Rights Group have is a list of IP addresses.

        I’m also interested to know whether a judge would allow them to subpoena 9,000 names & addresses. We have much stricter privacy laws than the US for one, and for two, I can’t imagine you’d be able to successfully convince a judge you were actually planning to sue all 9,000 people.

    6. Chris
      Posted 12/10/2011 at 8:10 am | Permalink |

      What if I run a limited VPS for anyone to use for free to do as they want, why? because I dont really care, the shared system is jailed and Ive bandwidth and allowence to spare

    7. Reww
      Posted 12/10/2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink |

      It’s easy to make it go away …

      Everyone that gets round one of the “letters”, just don’t settle … represent yourselves or get your lawschool friends / family to help, or if there are any egotistical lawyers out there, help out on the first round and make a name for yourselves!


    8. Anonymous
      Posted 12/10/2011 at 11:04 am | Permalink |

      i’m so going to download this film, and then delete it.

      Is it a breach of copyright if I don’t watch?

    9. Han
      Posted 12/10/2011 at 11:23 am | Permalink |

      what happens if i already own the movie?

    10. Marlon
      Posted 12/10/2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink |

      Sounds a lot like the patent trolls now famous in the US… they have the best stuff there!

    11. Jim
      Posted 12/10/2011 at 6:36 pm | Permalink |

      It is also possible, indeed, likely, that the company will become involved somehow in the wider industry solution to the issue of online file-sharing which is being discussed by parties including Australia’s major ISPs, the content industry and the Federal Department of the Attorney-General.

      In which way do you think these guys will become involved in the wider industry solution?

    12. John Smith
      Posted 13/10/2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink |

      Just by a copy of the DVD of the movie, and say you were getting an electronic backup copy. That’s allowed under medium-shifting provisions.

      • Aesthetics1210
        Posted 14/10/2011 at 12:52 pm | Permalink |

        The problem is that they don’t care if you downloaded it as the damages of that maybe $30, its that as you downloaded it from a torrent which you upload from as well. you then have helped distribute it to 9000 other people. 9000 x $30 is what they see as the damage you have caused.

    13. Kat
      Posted 20/10/2011 at 7:59 am | Permalink |

      These ‘people’ MUST be defied.

      And we must KEEP defying them.

      They’ll not get a red-cent out of me, under ANY circumstances.

    Get our 'Best of the Week' newsletter on Fridays

    Just the most important stories, one email a week.

    Email address:

  • Most Popular Content

  • Six smart secrets for nurturing customer relationships
    [ad] Today, we are experiencing a world where behind every app, every device, and every connection, is a customer. Your customers will demand you to be where they and managing customer relationship is the key to your business’s growth. The question is where do you start? Click here to download six free whitepapers to help you connect with your customers in a whole new way.
  • Enterprise IT stories

    • Greens claim NSW LMBR project turning into a disaster sydney

      The NSW Greens late last week claimed to have obtained documents showing that the NSW Department of Education and Communities’ wide-ranging Learning Management and Business Reform program, which involves a number of rolling upgrades of business administration software, was deployed before it was ready, with “appalling consequences for administrative staff, principals, teachers and students”.

    • NSW Govt trials inter-truck safety devices trucks-cohda

      The New South Wales Government has inked a contract with connected vehicle technology supplier Cohda Wireless, as part of a trial of so-called Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) which allow heavy vehicles to communicate directly with each other about their position on the road to help reduce road accidents.

    • Victoria finally kills $180m Ultranet disaster thumbsdown1

      The Victorian Government has reportedly terminated its disastrous Ultranet schools portal, which ballooned in cost to $180 million over the past seven years but ended up being barely used by the education stakeholders it was supposed to serve.

    • NetSuite in whole of business TurboSmart deal turbosmart

      Business-focused software as a service giant NetSuite has unveiled yet another win with a mid-sized Australian company, revealing a deal with automotive performance products manufacturer Turbosmart that has seen the company deploy a comprehensive suite of NetSuite products across its business.

    • WA Health told: Hire a goddamn CIO already doctor

      A state parliamentary committee has told Western Australia’s Department of Health to end four years of acting appointments and hire a permanent CIO, in the wake of news that the lack of such an executive role in the department contributed directly to the fiasco at the state’s new Fiona Stanley Hospital, much of which has revolved around poorly delivered IT systems.

    • Former whole of Qld Govt CIO Grant resigns petergrant

      High-flying IT executive Peter Grant has left his senior position in the Queensland State Government, a year after the state demoted him from the whole of government chief information officer role he had held for the second time.

    • Hills dumped $18m ERP/CRM rollout for Salesforce.com hills

      According to a blog post published by Salesforce.com today, one of Ted Pretty’s first moves upon taking up managing director role at iconic Australian brand Hills in 2012 was to halt an expensive traditional business software project and call Salesforce.com instead.

    • Dropbox opens Sydney office koalabox

      Cloud computing storage player Dropbox has announced it is opening an office in Sydney, as competition in the local enterprise cloud storage market accelerates.

    • Heartbleed, internal outages: CBA’s horror 24 hours commbankatm

      The Commonwealth Bank’s IT division has suffered something of a nightmare 24 hours, with a catastrophic internal IT outage taking down multiple systems and resulting in physical branches being offline, and the bank separately suffering public opprobrium stemming from contradictory statements it made with respect to potential vulnerabilities stemming from the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug.

    • Android in the enterprise: Three Aussie examples from Samsung androidapple

      Forget iOS and Windows. Today we present three decently sized deployments of Android in the Australian market on Samsung’s hardware, which the Korean vendor has dug up from its archives over the past several years for us after a little prompting :)

  • Enterprise IT, News - Apr 23, 2014 15:58 - 3 Comments

    Greens claim NSW LMBR project turning into a disaster

    More In Enterprise IT

    Blog, Telecommunications - Apr 24, 2014 14:00 - 9 Comments

    iiNet to splurge $350m on content, media

    More In Telecommunications

    Analysis, Industry - Apr 24, 2014 16:05 - 0 Comments

    Free to fail: Why corporates are learning to love venture capital

    More In Industry

    Blog, Digital Rights - Apr 23, 2014 12:57 - 32 Comments

    Cinema execs blame piracy for $20 ticket prices

    More In Digital Rights