Aside from the RIAA, are other companies suing P2P users for copyright infringement?
October 31, 2004 7:20 PM   Subscribe

I know that the RIAA has sued users of certain P2P networks like Kazaa, with mixed results. I'd like to know if there are any other examples of companies or agencies suing individuals for alleged copyright infringement...(like maybe the MPAA going after people on BitTorrent or something.)

Oh, one other doesn't have to be about P2P networks. I vaugely remember a story about DirectTV (or some other satellite TV service) suing people who had bought smart card readers, because they could be used to hack the cable-box and get channels for free. Any information on that or similar stories would be most appreciated....
posted by thewittyname to Law & Government (4 answers total)
Go to and register for the forum. In there you will find a legal forum, that discusses legal action being taken against bittorrent users. Most interesting is a user who works for an ISP who advises on what torrents to stay away from due to MPAA tracking.

The difference between the MPAA and the RIAA is that the MPAA only sends you a letter....
posted by quibx at 4:50 AM on November 1, 2004

Sounds like you're doing some research thewittyname...?

Anyway: RIAA have sued people from FastTrack and from eDonkey. The MPA have complained to ISPs about people from various networks - definitely FastTrack, definitely eDonkey (they've also gone after a few eDonkey portals and a court case is pending in Austria against one operator). Individual record companies and movie studios have complained to ISPs about a wide range of networks - no instances of suing as far as I know. The Department of Justice have taken court action against some 'heavy downloaders' on networks like DirectConnect.

In the UK, the BPI (UK version of RIAA) are in the process of taking a number of people to court, as are sister organisations across Europe. This is the first time the European realm has seen court challenges against individual downloaders.

Basically, suing is seen as the policy of last resort. RIAA reached it first because Napster was the first thing to appear and mp3s are nice and small and easy to download. The MPA haven't quite reached it yet with average users.

If you get a torrent from Suprnova and it's a first run movie, there will probably be some piece of machinery monitoring that torrent and grabbing what IP addresses it can. That's not to say you or your ISP will get a letter - far from it. At the moment, a lot of this info is used for intelligence. If you go to a smaller torrent site, then you probably won't be monitored (though just because you get the torrent from a different site doesn't mean it's not the same torrent...).
posted by humuhumu at 8:08 AM on November 1, 2004

It would be interestin to see how much of a file has to be shared to be considered illegal. You can make the case (correct me if I'm wrong) you're simply downloading a backup. This is exactly what I have done with multiple vinyls I have but don't have the means to digitally copy it.

With something like bittorrent if you only share 50% of a file and stop is what you're doing illegal? INTERESTING.
posted by geoff. at 12:06 PM on November 1, 2004

Downloading a backup? I don't think the MPA would care - would you want to fight them and their lawyers in court over this point of order? Also, court action is only taken against repeat offenders at the moment - people who they know have offered things on numerous occasions...

Similar thing on your second point: the MPA would be able to say, 'on this date, your IP address was sharing this film on BT'. Think you can persuade a judge that technically, you were only sharing part of it and as you didn't d/l all of it, you are not liable? You may be in the right on a technical standpoint, but the court probably won't listen.
posted by humuhumu at 1:10 PM on November 1, 2004

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