How many of us have scoffed at the warning given by movie distributers about illegal copying or distribution of the film we are about to watch?¬†Probably not too many people live in fear of the big, bad distributor knocking on the door, seeking a bag of money as retribution for downloading or streaming their film on the web. Well…thanks to U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer, perhaps more people should be.
On Friday, September 10, the Judge Collyer allowed the holder of a movie copyright to subpoena the names of people accused of illegally downloading and distributing a film over the Internet.¬†Similar to the witch-hunt to find Napster users led by the not-so-charitable rock band Metallica in 2000, the German limited partnership Achte/Neunte Boll Kino Beteiligungs Gmbh & Co KG, a creator and distributor of motion pictures, is suing internet users who are accused of copyright infringement after downloading the film “Far Cry”, a film the company holds the exclusive license to the copyright.¬†The partnership identified the Internet protocol (IP) addresses of computers associated with the alleged infringement. It then subpoenaed the Internet service providers (ISPs) seeking names of individuals associated with those addresses. Thus, the ISPs had to spill the beans.
Upon being notified by their provider, some of the customers challenged the subpoenas, but courts have upheld that Internet subscribers do not have an expectation of privacy once they give their information to an ISP. ¬†It’s probable that those who were subpoenaed were feeling remorse not only for being on the wrong side of the law and standing to lose thousands of dollars, but also because they put themselves in that position over a film such as “Far Cry,” which is a video game adaptation.
What do you think about this? Is it OK that Internet service providers were forced to give up such vital information? Are most people aware they are putting themselves at such risk, even if they’re only downloading a single lousy movie like “Far Cry”?
Posted by Alex on September 16, 2010 at 4:53pm.