[telecom] Judge: An IP-Address Doesn't Identify a Person (or BitTorrent Pirate)

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Judge: An IP-Address Doesn't Identify a Person (or BitTorrent Pirate)

A landmark ruling in one of the many mass-BitTorrent lawsuits in the
US has suffered a severe blow to a thus far lucrative business. Among
other things, New York Judge Gary Brown explains in great detail why
an IP-address is not sufficient evidence to identify copyright
infringers. According to the Judge this lack of specific evidence
means that many alleged BitTorrent pirates have been wrongfully
accused by copyright holders.

...

http://torrentfreak.com/judge-an-ip-address-doesnt-identify-a-person-120503 /


Furious judge decries "blizzard" of copyright troll lawsuits
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/05/furious-judge-decries-blizzard-of-copyright-troll-lawsuits.ars


New York judge blasts trolls' practices, recommends banning mass
bittorent lawsuits in the district
http://fightcopyrighttrolls.com/2012/05/02/new-york-judge-blasts-trolls-practices-recommends-banning-mass-bittorent-lawsuits-in-the-district /



Re: [telecom] Judge: An IP-Address Doesn't Identify a Person (or BitTorrent Pirate)
Per Monty Solomon:

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That sure took a long time.

Are there implications for other than New York residents?
--
Pete Cresswell


Re: [telecom] Judge: An IP-Address Doesn't Identify a Person (or BitTorrent Pirate)
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Not _directly_.

Until, and unless, the ruling is (a) appealed, and (b) confirmed
by a NYS appellate court, it is not 'binding' on any other NYS judge.

And a NYS court ruling -- at whatever level -- is _not_ binding on any
court outside of NY.

Other courts _may_ consider this ruling, and _may_ find it "persuasive",
but they are NOT required to do so.  G

It is 'likely' that either the instant case (which _is_ contrary to prior
NYS court findings) or a subsequent NYS case which finds to the contrary
-will- be appealed -- so as to resolve the 'inconsistency' in court rulings,
and that there will =then= be 'binding' precedent for NYS cases.

All that aside, what the NY ruling does do -- and which *does* have
implications outside NY state -- is lay out a 'roadmap' for defending a
case where the 'identity' of the purported infringer is established solely
by the IP address in use.

I expect that:
  a) a -lot- of defenses will quote -extensively- from this ruling
  b) the 'movers' behind these suits will lobby _hard_ or changes in
     the law.

Item b) could get "interesting".  IF the laws -do- get changed, ISPs
could find -themselves- liable for actions of others who use 'their'
IP address.  

Re: [telecom] Judge: An IP-Address Doesn't Identify a Person (or BitTorrent Pirate)

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I wonder how this differs from the precedent of traffic cameras that
take pictures of the license plates of cars that run red lights, and
then a ticket is mailed to the registrant of the license plate?  They
could have let a friend of family member borrow the car.

--
Barry Margolin, barmar@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***


Re: [telecom] Judge: An IP-Address Doesn't Identify a Person (or BitTorrent Pirate)
On 5/3/2012 9:21 PM, Barry Margolin wrote:
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In Minnesota, it doesn't differ.  My city installed a bunch of red
light cameras, and they're now standing idle due to the fact that no
one could testify under oath that the driver was the owner of the car.

Dave

Re: [telecom] Judge: An IP-Address Doesn't Identify a Person (or BitTorrent Pirate)

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Which is exactly the reasoning used to abolish the use of red-light
cameras in Minneapolis, Minnesota a few years back.

Re: Judge: An IP-Address Doesn't Identify a Person (or BitTorrent Pirate)
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This may be off-topic, but I think I have a thought herein.

Governments actually only have three ways of getting money: taxes,
penalties, and licenses. Licenses are sometimes called permits and
sometimes called rent (such as for a parking space). This matters in a
discussion of red-light cameras. The laws explicitly state that the money
charged is not a criminal or civil penalty. Paying the "fine" has no
repercussion in traffic enforcement. No points are charged against one's
license, nor is there an insurance penalty. So the "fine" is not a penalty.
Nor can it be a tax. That leaves licenses.

Legally, then, perhaps the government is actually selling YOUR CAR a
one-time PERMIT to run a red light at the specific location and time
involved. In other words, it matters not who was operating the car. Nor
does it matter if you can get your "friend of a family member" to pay the
price. This leads to some interesting speculation, but it is the only
consequence that results from the facts and philosophies of governmental
power involved.

Curt Bramblett

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