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post #11 of 38 Old 03-03-2011
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Wow - great detective work. The ISP can get into hot water for hosting copywrighted material. They seem to be your best shot!

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post #12 of 38 Old 03-03-2011
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Wow - great detective work. The ISP can get into hot water for hosting copywrighted material. They seem to be your best shot!
Not really, unless they ignore a request to remove the infringing material.

From the Harvard University Law School website:

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As part of their services, ISPs often give their clients the means to make documents available over the Internet to the public at large. For example, an ISP may provide its clients with more than just an email account and access to the web; it may give them the right to upload files (including web pages) to the ISP's publicly accessible servers. These files may then be accessed -- and, by necessity, copied -- by members of the general population.

Problems arise, as one might expect, when the clients abuse this privilege and post material that violates the copyright laws. Why would the copyright holders in such situations sue the ISP rather than the person directly responsible for the infringement? There are two main reasons, and they are fairly straightforward. First, it's hard to sue someone if you can't find her. Many ISPs are corporate entities with fixed places of business, whereas clients who post infringing materials may be mobile or otherwise difficult to track down. The ISP is thus usually much easier to find than the individual who posted the allegedly infringing material. Second, the infringers are likely to be "judgment-proof" -- meaning that they lack the financial resources to pay a substantial liability judgment. Therefore, copyright holders commonly target ISPs because they almost always have more money than the individual client who allegedly posted the copyright infringement. This may not be true for a mom-'n-pop ISP, but the bigger players (such as AOL, Netcom, et cetera) certainly qualify as "deep pockets."

How might an ISP react to the threat of copyright liability? One response might be to police aggressively its servers for copyright infringements. Unfortunately, systematic policing of client content could be very unpopular with those clients who are concerned about maintaining a level of privacy and freedom from on-line censorship. Additionally, such a strategy would be difficult to execute. The ISP may have so much information on its servers that, even with the assistance of technologies designed specifically to help parse the information, reviewing it regularly would be problematic and costly. Even if the ISP could review the data with regularity, how would it be able to identify copyright-infringing material? Aside from flagrant cases (e.g., a web page boldly inviting visitors to download a free copy of Microsoft Word), it is difficult for an ISP manager (or search engine) to know whether material is copyright-protected and being used without authorization simply by looking at it. As a result, the ISP may end up either failing to remove copyright-infringing material or overzealously removing material that looks infringing but is not. The former scenario leaves the ISP open to suit, while the latter raises concerns of censorship.

ISPs may also attempt to avoid liability by demanding indemnification agreements from their clients. In other words, the ISP may require each client to sign a contract assuming all responsibility for any copyright infringement engaged in by the client. While such indemnities may reduce the risk of liability, they are not ironclad and do not eliminate the risk altogether.

What does this mean for the average Internet user? The conventional analysis goes as follows: because copyright infringement is hard to eliminate through self-policing, ISPs face an "unavoidable" risk of liability for copyright infringement. In other words, they face a risk that they cannot entirely eliminate up-front through cost-effective means. Smaller ISPs may be forced out of business entirely if the liability risk is too great. Larger ISPs that are better positioned to prepare for the liability risk would have to set aside funds for lawyers, settlements and judgments. Alternatively, these ISPs may choose to purchase some form of liability insurance. Either strategy costs money. Those costs will eventually be passed on to consumers, making the cost of Internet access higher for everyone.

Thus, the bedrock beneath the argument for removing liability from ISPs for copyright infringement centers on the perceived unfairness in holding unwitting ISPs liable for the illegal conduct of their clients, the danger that liability will cause ISPs to exercise restrictive control on client postings in a manner threatening open on-line discourse, and on the bottom-line result of increased cost for Internet access passed on to the average user.

On the flip side, a failure to hold ISPs liable for infringements by their clients may undermine the quality of material available on the net -- and off the net. Owners of copyrighted works argue that instantaneous and unredressable digital piracy would reduce their incentive to produce these works. The result would be a "cheap" culture -- not "cheap" in the pejorative manner that highbrow commentators use to describe popular culture, but "cheap" in the sense that the only works worth producing would be ones that cost very little to make, or where the costs could somehow be recouped through performance or the cult of personality. The Grateful Dead (providing their fans with essentially "free" content while paying the bills through the endless juggernaut of a roadshow) would be the archetype for working artists, cinema would fast become hopelessly verite, news would become a self referential chorus of Drudge reports (perhaps it is so already), reclusive artists such as Thomas Pynchon would have to find day jobs, et cetera. Not an entirely awful world, perhaps, but a very different one indeed.

In an effort to limit the potential liability for ISPs while avoiding a meltdown in copyright protection on-line, last October Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), discussed below. Empirical evidence of its effect, if any, on ISP liability and copyright protection will take time to develop. Nonetheless, this module will introduce a basic picture of ISP liability prior to the DMCA, briefly describe the DMCA itself, and invite you to speculate concerning what changes, if any, it will bring.

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post #13 of 38 Old 03-03-2011
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Or embed a steganographic signature in it...
Or embed a stegosaurus in it. Those things are bad ass.

It's 5 o'clock somewhere:


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post #14 of 38 Old 03-03-2011
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Or embed a stegosaurus in it. Those things are bad ass.
Yeah, but they are extinct, so finding one might be tough.

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #15 of 38 Old 03-03-2011
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so finding one might be tough.
They said the same thing about trimaran owners with a sense of humour. Come on, there's gotta be one out there somewhere!

It's 5 o'clock somewhere:


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post #16 of 38 Old 03-03-2011
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Or embed a steganographic signature in it...
Not nearly as useful. An embedded signature will only help after the fact. A watermark, right across the graphic, makes it much less likely someone will cut, paste, and take credit for the work.

Never forget them. Do something to prevent it from happening again.
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post #17 of 38 Old 03-03-2011
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Not nearly as useful. An embedded signature will only help after the fact. A watermark, right across the graphic, makes it much less likely someone will cut, past, and take credit for the work.
Yes, but Maine Sail's photos generally need to have the visual detail, since he often, almost always, uses them for clarifying and illustrating his posts.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #18 of 38 Old 03-03-2011
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there's gotta be one out there somewhere!
I say much the same thing about leadmine owners with a functional brain...

and I finally did find one after a long search...his name is Maine Sail... and he's the exception that proves the rule.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #19 of 38 Old 03-04-2011
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Yes, but Maine Sail's photos generally need to have the visual detail, since he often, almost always, uses them for clarifying and illustrating his posts.
Life is full of trade-offs.

Never forget them. Do something to prevent it from happening again.
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post #20 of 38 Old 03-04-2011
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Can't you find some teenager who knows how to send that site 2 million e-mails a night for the next three weeks asking him politely to not steal stuff?


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