ISP (Internet Service Police)

I was reading a slashdot article ‘story’, and I am reminded that Stephen Conroy clearly shouldn’t be doing the job, as he has no idea what he is doing.

the government is said to be watching the case closely and along with attempts to introduce a three-strikes law in Australia, it appears the law will be changed if the government dislikes the outcome of the case.

This point from the slashdot story shows that if they need to wait the outcome of a court case to determine laws, they clearly are incapable of ‘governing for the people’.

No ISP in the world is capable of determining if a P2P transfer is copyrighted or not – names aren’t enough, because I can have Horton.Hears.A.Who.avi – and size of 90kB – that’s either some uber compression, or I like using bad filenames.

Why don’t they simply look at the circumstances and decide for themselves, is the current process in place suitable? If not – what needs to be changed? Why is the current process in place ‘not used’? Once they find answers to that, they can find suitable measures to resolve the issues surrounding this.

It is far from the job of the ISP to police the users, we pay law enforcement for that – should we pay ISPs to enforce law? Does the Management of such an ISP become the ‘judge’, the user is then the ‘defendant’ and the copyright holder is the claimant? What if Management of the ISP make a screwup or they simply don’t like the user?

It’s not the end of the world if they do start cutting connections on the say so of some third party copyright holder – but they can’t be trusted to be accurate all the time, too many screwups occur for a ‘disconnection’ decision to be made there.

iiNet in a way are correct with their argument – they can’t break Privacy laws to intercept traffic, and I sure as hell am not going to trust some third party claiming to represent MGM or Universal, yet cannot supply any clear evidence in writing of such.

If iiNet really wanted to be smart, they’d reply to each and every notice requesting written and signed statutory declarations of such copyright activity, because an email can easily be ‘faked’ – and being a judge in a court of law, I’d take their side in a heart beat.

To get that many statutory declarations sworn would be enough to make damned sure they had the right facts for each case (as the significant delays such a process would impose is enough of a disposition to ensure accuracy/ worthiness of claims).

Then, they could forward such a request to the user, who could in turn request documented technical evidence, such that it can be disputed, and this in turn creates a larger turnaround for the copyright allegations to be validated enough.

Then, the user can assess it, and if they are happy, reply stating the activity was discontinued 12 months ago, or if they disagree, they can dispute it – and see what happens then.

The point? The studios aren’t really that big on copyright infringement, fact is – they don’t give a rats arse. They just forward automated output from their detection systems to the ISP, who can action as they see fit.

They went after iiNet when they realised they weren’t forwarding them on – of course, the intent of the notice is to inject fear into the user, so iiNet’s reasoning for not sending the reports on is probably to ensure customers didn’t call up asking about a notice – or flooding them with crap about them.

The other point is, iiNet have no legal responsibility to send an email onto a user about a abuse report – copyright issues are for the copyright holder to persue through channels already present.

I imagine a copyright investigation requires first – a civil claim lodged, but to get the user details, they need to subpoena the ISP for those details, which could then be given out – and in turn, they can lodge a statement of claim against the user (after validating the details), and this results in a hearing setup for the allegation, and a court can decide the merits of the claim and amount claimed.

As you can see, the automated systems processing these copyright claims aren’t going to like such a system, it costs the copyright holder a LOT of money for what amounts to one user viewing some file from the internet, and uploading anywhere from 20 – 80% of the copy – something they couldn’t really prove anyway, unless the full file was uploaded to them (I doubt they’d download the same copy of the same file however many times to prove copyright infringement).

And so – they just want to intimidate users, by sending emails saying “we are on to you”.

And because it’s a lot of work going after the users, correctly, in the above scenario, they just go for iiNet, who are simply a carriage provider. Much like if I used Australia Post to ship 2KG of Mary Jane three suburbs over.

Or if I burnt a DVD of Horton Hears A Who and send it three suburbs over by Australia Post, and quoted a PO Box as a return address. This isn’t worth trying though, as they wouldn’t get detected, and Australia Post isn’t a key target for these copyright ’emails’.

The process in place can work well, if the copyright holders are indeed serious, they aren’t. Just like the current government, completely full of shit.

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