Time for USCG to “shit or get off the pot.”

21 11 2010

Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer just put the kibosh on the US Copyright Group’s five-year plan to sue over 16,000 people for copyright violations incurred through sharing films online. While such copyright claims filed against online users are nothing new, the USCG has two huge, gaping holes in its litigation: to date, it hasn’t been able to provide the identity of a single individual user whom they are suing against (only users’ IP addresses), and it subsequently requested five years from the federal courts to do so.

This request was to be applied to the USCG’s cases for the films Far Cry and The Steam Experiment. Originally, Judge Collyer set the deadline to name defendants to July 2010, which was extended to November 18th; this time, the USCG requested 58 months time to name defendants in its cases. The extensive time frame comes at the behest of Time Warner, who as an Internet Service Provider complained about the cost of having to perform so many lookups for the USCG, and had a federal judge reduce its workload to 28 lookups a month, split between each case..

Judge Collyer responded by calling the request, “patently unfair and prejudicial to all John Does who have been identified by an ISP,” and gave the USCG until December 6th to come up with identities of those users included in its claim; any other IP addresses without names are exempt from the case.

A lawyer representing file-sharing defendants told Ars Technica that the order was “what it looks like when a judge starts to lose her patience,” and that Collyer wants the USCG to “shit or get off the pot.”

While it seems as though the USCG is just another bumbling, clumsy copyright troll, it allegedly knows a majority of the names behind the Far Cry and Steam Experiment cases; should this be true, those names will be given in court on December 6th.

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Limegate Update: Revival at the Hands of “Piratical Monkeys”

15 11 2010

Yeah, this one is almost as insane as it sounds. In one of last week’s posts, I covered how LimeWire LLC was court-ordered to end its operations and shut down its peer-to-peer file sharing network. This was depressing news to many users (including myself) who have relied on LimeWire to handle our circumventive file acquisition needs over at least the last five years.

While I suggested in my post that BitTorrent technology may provide safe haven for those users that have no interest in paying $30 for a 1080p rip of James Cameron’s Avatar, a media liberation cyberpunk known only as “MetaPirate” led to the revival of the file sharing system by releasing LimeWire: Pirate Edition. According to Nate Anderson at Ars Technica, “LimeWire Pirate Edition builds on the old LimeWire codebase, but it removes LimeWire’s use of some centralized servers, the Ask.com toolbar, in-app advertising, and software backdoors. It also enables all the features of the “Pro” version that LimeWire LLC used to sell as a premium product.”

The coders behind LimeWire’s rerelease described it as, “A horde of piratical monkeys climbed aboard the abandoned ship, mended its sails, polished its cannons and released it FREE to the community to help keep the Gnutella network alive.”

LimeWire Pirate Edition, courtesy of Ars Technica.

 

In an email correspondence with Ars Technica, MetaPirate described his/her motives as, “Speaking for myself, the motivation is to make RIAA lawyers cry into their breakfast cereal… I hope the other monkeys have nobler intentions.” Believing in the perseverance of LimeWire as a symbol of free file exchange, MetaPirate says, “You can spend years and millions of dollars knocking something down, and it will just get back up. Not an equivalent, not a replacement, but the exact same thing. The Pirate Bay has really demonstrated the importance of that.” Fittingly, the tagline for the new software is, “You can’t keep a good app down.”

The LimeWire Pirate Edition site hosts a plethora of locations from which users can download the new software for Windows, Mac, and Linux, ensuring no user platform has to go without LimeWire’s services. The site’s “About” section claims, “LimeWire Pirate Edition is free, open source P2P software. It does not include any adware or spyware, and it cannot be remotely monitored or shut down.”