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Mass anti-piracy litigation dismissed, no longer welcome in TX

Posted at 18 February 2011 00:00 CEST by wconeybeer

Evan Stone, one of the main prosecuting attorneys of mass peer-to-peer copyright infringement lawsuits in the United States has been smacked down by a senior Texas judge, who has made it clear that his courtroom will not tolerate these types of cases.

Last week, senior US District Judge Royal Ferguson went through 13 of the 16 mass file sharing cases initiated by Stone in the Northern District of Texas, “severing” hundreds of John Doe defendants and quashing all of the related subpoenas to gather the Doe’s personal information from internet providers. Those cases now only have one anonymous defendant named for each case.

According to a report by Ars Technica this week, Judge Ferguson even showed mercy toward defendants who were considered to be in default of a court order because they had not shown up for a hearing.

Ferguson’s justification for his dramatic slashing of Stone’s cases was that the mutual use of BitTorrent was not a strong enough basis to join the defendants.

“There are no allegations in Plaintiff’s Complaint that the Defendants are in any way related to each other, or that they acted in concert or as a group in their allegedly infringing actions,” Judge Ferguson explained in his ruling. “Indeed, it seems that the copyright infringement claim against each Defendant is based on the individual acts of each Defendant.”

Any attempts by Stone to re-file his cases must include an individual complaint against each Doe defendant, which means a great deal of paperwork plus a $350 filing fee per defendant.

“Kudos to Judge Furgeson for refusing to allow the plaintiffs to bypass basic due process rights and helping to ensure the judicial process is fair for everyone involved,” writes Corynne McSherry of the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF). The digital rights group has begun pursuing sanctions against Stone related to the mass P2P lawsuits after he had issued subpoenas to internet service providers without the judge’s permission.

This is another victory against this type of mass anti-piracy litigation, after thousands of defendants were dismissed from the Washington D.C. District Court in December, and hundreds of defendants accused of sharing a pornographic film were dismissed from a New York District Court last month.

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There are 18 comments

UTR
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 18 Feb 11 00:09
    With any luck this will be the first of many more legal smack downs of the RIAA.
    getit29
    MyCE Resident
    Posted on: 18 Feb 11 00:49
      I think maybe the legal system is finally getting tired of all of these frivolous
      RIAA lawsuits and it is about time someone just said NO to them.
      debro
      Blown to smitherines
      Posted on: 18 Feb 11 03:07
        How the hell can you you sue 1000's of people in one case.

        One Defendant Entity, one offended Entity.
        In the case of a Class Action lawsuit, many Offended people are represented by a single Entity.

        How the hell are these cases supposed to be solved:
        We find defendant #1012342 guilty .. and by proxy, all other 999999,99999 defendants guilty ....

        Seriously .. wtf?

        How much less ludicrous does it sound when I say it like this:
        We have evidence that John Doe #1012342 repeated copyright infringement by downloading files XXX, YYY, ZZZ , at times AAA, BBB, CCC and we want a subpoena for this user .. and by proxy all other 999999,99999 John Doe's.

        How about now:
        We find defendant #1012342 guilty .. and by proxy, all neighbours guilty, because they share a common street, and it's likely they were aware of the murder ...

        I'm not entirely sure when the Practice of Law became the Practice of Stupidity, but the US legal system is a laughing stock to the rest of the world.

        Who on earrth would have thought that the only sane person in the US legal system would come from Texas ... the state where it takes six shots ,or less, to turn the TV off ... What the heck? I'm still scratching my head.
        wconeybeer
        MyCE Senior Member
        Posted on: 18 Feb 11 09:58
          Quote:
          Originally Posted by debro
          I'm not entirely sure when the Practice of Law became the Practice of Stupidity, but the US legal system is a laughing stock to the rest of the world.
          A reputation that we have definitely earned. *sigh*
          debro
          Blown to smitherines
          Posted on: 18 Feb 11 15:54
            Quote:
            Originally Posted by wconeybeer
            A reputation that we have definitely earned. *sigh*
            Don't feel too bad ... Australia's emergency/ambulance IT systems don't even have basic antivirus installed
            UTR
            MyCE Resident
            Posted on: 18 Feb 11 17:51
              Quote:
              Originally Posted by debro
              I'm not entirely sure when the Practice of Law became the Practice of Stupidity, but the US legal system is a laughing stock to the rest of the world.
              You are being too kind. Our entire federal government (sans the military) is the laughing stock of the world.
              cholla
              MyCE Resident
              Posted on: 18 Feb 11 17:53
                Quote:
                Originally Posted by debro
                Who on earrth would have thought that the only sane person in the US legal system would come from Texas ... the state where it takes six shots ,or less, to turn the TV off ... What the heck? I'm still scratching my head.
                I would have . It would only take me one shot. The problem with that is turning the TV back on.
                btw I have been to a friends house where the TV had been shot 3 times. I was not present when the shooting was done.

                ti yi yippy yippy yea yippy yea for the Judge
                Blu-rayFreak
                MyCE Resident
                Posted on: 18 Feb 11 18:10
                  Legal merit or not, I'm totally opposed to these mass file sharing lawsuits (as most people seem to be), so I'm glad to see they're mostly being thrown out. It's obvious that they have no means to actually prove that the person who even owns the allegedly infringing IP address (if it was even accurate, as it's easy to spoof) actually committed a crime. Now if they made a law to say that you're responsible for anything that originates from your IP address, it would be a whole different story, but that isn't the reality... yet (I'm sure that's exactly what the RIAA/MPAA want)
                  paulw2
                  MyCE Senior Member
                  Posted on: 18 Feb 11 21:48
                    Won't the RIAA and the like just move their operations to another state and continue on as before or can they only sue some within that state??
                    Dee
                    Senior Administrator and Reviewer
                    Posted on: 19 Feb 11 11:43
                      Several off topic posts deleted.
                      Keep the thread on topic, and leave the party political comments out of this thread.
                      cholla
                      MyCE Resident
                      Posted on: 19 Feb 11 16:48
                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by debro
                        the US legal system is a laughing stock to the rest of the world.
                        I'm going to disagree with this. Most countries legal systems put under the magnifying glass will have both good & bad decisions made by their courts.
                        If the US judicial branch would stick first to the individual states Constitution at the state court level & to the US Constitution on the Federal level there would be few if any bad decisions.
                        The three main problems I see are:
                        1. The US courts don't do this but try to create law which is supposed to be under the US legislative branch.
                        2. They allow money to influence them .
                        3. There is a trend to follow International law instead of US law .
                        This is a major mistake . As far as I'm concerned when a Supreme Court justice does this they should be tried for treason , They violate their oath to the citizens of the USA to " uphold the US Constitution " when they follow International law over the US Constitution.

                        What US District Judge Royal Ferguson did was follow the law not try to create new law . That makes it seem exceptional but is what he is supposed to do. The rest of the judges in the US would do well to follow his example. Which is do the job they were elected or appointed to do . Not more & not less.
                        Zathros
                        MyCE Resident
                        Posted on: 19 Feb 11 23:28
                          This Forum is becoming more of a joke than it already is..
                          Dee
                          Senior Administrator and Reviewer
                          Posted on: 20 Feb 11 00:04
                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Zathros
                            This Forum is becoming more of a joke than it already is..
                            Ah, you find it funny that I have to keep deleting off topic posts?
                            Or perhaps you're not happy that you, and a couple of other people are NOT going to be allowed to take every single thread in this subforum, and turn it into political bickering?

                            You see, the vast amount of people on this forum are fed up of the political bickering that pollutes what could be meaningful discussion for everyone else, up till the point that the personal flaming starts and the thread is closed. Then no one can enjoy a civil conversation in the thread.

                            We've been here before, haven't we?

                            if you think it's a "joke", it is no longer funny for the majority of people who visit this forum.
                            UTR
                            MyCE Resident
                            Posted on: 20 Feb 11 01:29
                              If you want the "stick to the topic" rule to be applied straight up, then posts 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, 14 & 15 should also be deleted. I can go to any number of other threads and can justify the majority of the posts should be deleted based on them being off topic.

                              I see the slippery slope developing on this "delete the offending posts" policy. What is next after politics that it will be applied to? So if enough people complain, which I don't automatically buy into, then the number of unacceptable subjects just keep growing? Or is this just an attempt to silence certain members?

                              I am just saying.
                              olyteddy
                              Senior Moderator
                              Posted on: 20 Feb 11 01:34
                                Quote:
                                Originally Posted by UTR
                                If you want the "stick to the topic" rule to be applied straight up, then posts 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, 14 & 15 should also be deleted. I can go to any number of other threads and can justify the majority of the posts should be deleted based on them being off topic.

                                I see the slippery slope developing on this "delete the offending posts" policy. What is next after politics that it will be applied to? So if enough people complain, which I don't automatically buy into, then the number of unacceptable subjects just keep growing? Or is this just an attempt to silence certain members?

                                I am just saying.
                                And if they bother you, there is the 'report' button over <<<---- there...I'm just saying...
                                UTR
                                MyCE Resident
                                Posted on: 20 Feb 11 01:55
                                  Quote:
                                  Originally Posted by olyteddy
                                  And if they bother you, there is the 'report' button over <<<---- there...I'm just saying...
                                  I am just applying the "law" without prejudice.
                                  Zathros
                                  MyCE Resident
                                  Posted on: 20 Feb 11 02:27
                                    Quote:
                                    Originally Posted by Dee
                                    Ah, you find it funny that I have to keep deleting off topic posts?
                                    Or perhaps you're not happy that you, and a couple of other people are NOT going to be allowed to take every single thread in this subforum, and turn it into political bickering?

                                    You see, the vast amount of people on this forum are fed up of the political bickering that pollutes what could be meaningful discussion for everyone else, up till the point that the personal flaming starts and the thread is closed. Then no one can enjoy a civil conversation in the thread.

                                    We've been here before, haven't we?

                                    if you think it's a "joke", it is no longer funny for the majority of people who visit this forum.

                                    I don't know if I could express the irony of your post. It is exactly the fact that you have to delete these post, that you allow DEBRO to constantly bash my country and let him get away with whatever he wants. I hate it. I hate that politics come into it at all. You allow my country to be bashed constantly. I cannot believe you could be so blind as not to see the pattern of the same individuals to say whatever they want, then expect others to shut up.

                                    Originally Posted by debro View Post
                                    I'm not entirely sure when the Practice of Law became the Practice of Stupidity, but the US legal system is a laughing stock to the rest of the world.

                                    "Who on earth would have thought that the only sane person in the US legal system would come from Texas ... the state where it takes six shots ,or less, to turn the TV off ... What the heck? I'm still scratching my head."


                                    The fact that DEBRO's posts are still up, in this thread shows that you still allow people to make insulting statements about people and their governments like that. That such generalizations are the norm displays hypocrisy or ignorance in it's highest form. I challenge you to look at every post I have ever made. Any political comment was in reaction to extreme comments made by the "SAME PEOPLE".

                                    I have never bashed anyone's race, religion, or country. The audacity of you making that post to me . In light of all the "pollution" you let go through is telling.

                                    These posts still up in this thread speak volumes for your blind "eye" to anything said about the United States of America. How dare you. Your incompetence is here, in this thread for all to read. Let's see if you have the personal fortitude to follow up on my challenge, will you delete the insulting posts, or will you selectively delete what you wish to cover you actions.


                                    In 1974, when I was 16, I was walking down a street in Manchester England when the whole front of the building blew up from an I.R.A. attack. The Police asked me to be quiet because they feared I could be in danger, and wanted to send me back home, I was an exchange student. I have been to the U.K. Look at my posts. You try and find one that I attacked any country in. You accused me once of being a racist because I made a comment of how England in her Imperial days caused many problems in the world whose legacy could still be felt. I have been to your country. I traveled the whole U.K.. Get off your high horse.

                                    I can only imagine you have me mixed up with someone else, or I am guilty by association. The audacity of you to direct that post to me. The joke I referred to was in reference to what you accuse me of. Your delayed Moderation of this thread is a "Joke". That the insults are still up is a testament to either deliberate projection of your own sentiments or your incompetence as to your ability to see the friction that caused it. READ THE WHOLE THREAD!!!". The "Joke" is all the idiot's who attack and cannot have a decent conversation. I posted in a thread techniques on possibly fixing a "Hard Drive" and had a Moderator put a list of bowing Icons mocking me for my post, yet I am a Licensed Electronic Technician and fix electronics to component level. I didn't react to it and let it go.

                                    "Oh, everyone knows he's just joking".

                                    Let's do this. You find where I have attacked anyone's country, race, or religion. Not responded, but what I have initiated.

                                    I'll do this. Monday, I will make 3 phone calls. The first will be to a very close friend in Homeland Security. I have already copied of the forums on DVD Copying and will send them to him. There will be 2 more phone calls. You will never know about those. Let's see how long your forum will be accessed from the United States. Let's play a game. Do you want to play? I do. I am perfectly willing to. You have insulted me. If you had asked what I thought the joke was about, you would have seen I was in agreement with and we could have had a civil discussion about the lingering problems.

                                    Let's play a game. If you don't want to play, then acknowledge your error.. If you want to play, don't respond Do you like your soup cold?
                                    Dee
                                    Senior Administrator and Reviewer
                                    Posted on: 20 Feb 11 02:40
                                      I have nothing to hide.
                                      But I will close this thread and let the site owner deal with it.
                                      He can see, like all senior staff, the deleted posts.

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