IP question about "distribution"

Discussion in 'Home Theater Lounge' started by Drew, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    Part I

    Thoughts on these.

    Which is worse, or are they the same?
    Downloading IP material or providing it?

    Should their be a higher penalty for providing? Is there? Does the RIAA look at providing IP material in a different light (i.e. it's worse)?

    Part II

    If you put something out on a "share" (personal webspace/FTP, shared drive of any sort, etc.) that is TECHNICALLY accessible by others, is that/should that be considered "distribution"?

    Point of this being...


  2. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    Interesting. There's no real good analog to this situation. I know people try to use technicalities all the time and sometimes they work. When I was in high school, we wanted to a raffle and we found out you needed a gambling license (I'm not kidding). So we sold pencils with the school logo on them instead and for each pencil you bought, you got entered into a drawing. Now I'm guessing we COULD have been busted for this, but we weren't. Who knows actually, just the first thing that came to mind.
  3. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    Yeah, it's like in college you sell cups at a keg party and not beer, it doesn't fly.

    But how about this. You leave some supplies outside your garage that CAN be used to make meth or something else illegal, and someone steals it during the night. The materials were on your property and NOT in plain site. Does that make you an accomplice in any way for providing it to someone or if something happend?

    Go back to a shared drive example, no one knows about it, you have several sub folders to go through to get to it so it's somewhat hard to find (I'm not saying it is being hidden, just that it's organized), what then? I mean if you COULD PROVE or the RIAA CAN'T PROVE anyone but you has accessed it, what then? Or does my example not work at all (which I'm sure it doesn't). :p
  4. LarryB

    LarryB Active Member

    The best analogy is the person who steals property vs. the one who knowingly receives it.
  5. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    Doesn't answer the main gist of the question which is, is having in a shared folder on a public network considered distribution?
  6. DYohn

    DYohn Well-Known Member Donor

    it can be. See the Grokster decision.
  7. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    Good point. Though, it will be interesting if intent comes into play. If you point grokster to your MP3 collection it seems like there's a good chance you meant to share them. Now lets say I work at a place with pretty non-restrictive IT policies and I have my iTunes library on the company network. Am I distributing that content to the entire company? Now move from there to a modern college campus which often does provide network storage space to students etc.
  8. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    In college someone a few years back wrote a program (with a web interface) that would index the campus network that you could go to a site and search for things, then access that machine and get the data. No clue how it worked but it only looked at machines that were student computers (probably only machines that were on a workgroup instead of a domain). You had to reg your computer through a reg site when you connected a computer to the campus network, but you didn't have to join a domain at all.

    Then every few years someone else would take over the maint. of it when the previous person would graduate.

    In this example when I was in college it was common for the FTP/web space to be used for that because it was more than likely scanned by the Uni. IT. BUT, since your computer was on a network and you have music and there isn't much of anything you can do (unless you know what you are doing, which lets face is NO WHERE near the majority of the population) to keep people from access your C$ share on a network, part of a domain or not. Is THAT considered distribution (which is *kind of* what the /. article was about)?
  9. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor War Zone Member

    I see 2 valid analogies here. The first was already mentioned, stealing property (uploading) and knowingly receiving stolen property (downloading).

    The second is illegal drugs. There is a dealer (uploader) and a user (downloader).

    In both cases the receiver/user/downloader is guilty of a crime, but the thief/dealer/unloader is guilty of a more serious crime, with a correspondingly greater penalty.

    I don't know that it is, but IMO it should be. If you knowingly store IP on a publicly accessible or shared network then you are responsible for it, even if you didn't intend for others to access it. IMO you have a moral (and possibly legal) obligation to protect IP that you have a legal license for. I don't mean that you have to lock it in a vault, but requiring a password to access the folder would not be unreasonable, IMO.

    I disagree with the argument. As I said, the owner of a legally licensed copy of IP is IMO under at least a moral, if not legal, obligation to take reasonable steps to protect that IP from illegal or unlicensed use.

    Here's an example: I buy a 6 pack of beer and deliberately leave it in a public place, say across the street from a public park. Some kids find the beer, drink it and get in an accident. The kids knew they shouldn't drink the beer and are guilty of underage drinking. However, I still have a moral and legal responsibility for what happened because I should not have left the beer in a place where I could reasonably expect minors would find it.

    If you put legally licensed music on an unprotected network or shared drive then IMO you have not taken reasonable steps to prevent it form being used illegally.
  10. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    What if you left the beer on your porch? What if the porch is screened in? Could this kid not just argue that the IP was "stolen" from him and not distributed by him?
  11. DYohn

    DYohn Well-Known Member Donor

    Perhaps, unless of course the beer owner reasonably expected or anticipated or planned that the beer would be stolen by the minor, in which case they are probably guilty of contributing to the minor's delinquency.
  12. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor War Zone Member

    But that's not the case here. The IP was left in a publicly accessible place. The student did not make any effort to protect the IP from unlicensed use.

    If I rent a car to you, you have a legal obligation to take reasonable care to protect it while it is in your possession. You are not allowed to let anyone else use it and you are responsible if it is damaged or stolen. An IP license is basically the same thing, the licensee is obligated to take reasonable care to protect that IP. I don't see how anyone, especially a computer and network savvy college student, could reasonably claim that putting the IP on a publicly accessible network, without at least password protection, could be considered taking reasonable care.
  13. cjd

    cjd New Member

    It is on the books that even leaving your wireless access point un-secured does not constitute permission to use it.

    If the network storage is "public" without ANY personalization, (i.e. this is MY folder" it's fuzzy - probably not a smart thing to do. If it's personalized storage even if it's public, it may be illegal for anyone to access this (even the RIAA) without permission. Hard to say.

    As with most things, reading the legal filings for this case present things differently than the way this discussion is already considering the topic.
  14. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    But could you not argue that a screen and a open share, but not publicized share, be considered the same thing? Meaning, it is VERY easy to get inside of a screened in porch just like it is VERY easy to stumble upon a open share with some MP3 files in it.

    I would say a living room would be more easily compared to a share that is PW protected.
  15. Ken McDaniel

    Ken McDaniel Active Member War Zone Member

    Best I know, RIAA is only suing providers/sharers. Downloaders have not been targeted.
  16. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member War Zone Member Top Poster

  17. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor War Zone Member

    The standard usually applied in these type of cases is the "reasonable person". IOW, would a reasonable person consider beer left on a porch to have been reasonably secure? It probably depends on the porch and a variety of other circumstances. For example, was the beer was simply forgotten while unloading the groceries or (as in this case) was it deliberately left out? Was it hidden from view or was it in plain site?

    So, would a reasonable person consider an unprotected folder on a public network to be secure? Whiles some may disagree, I consider myself to be a reasonable person and there's no way I would consider that folder to have been secure.

    I would agree with that and if the folder was password protected I would say that the owner is innocent or not liable if the folder was hacked.
  18. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    Any consideration about WHAT is left out? Say gold v. beer?
  19. Pete Mazz

    Pete Mazz Active Member War Zone Member

    Then wouldn't this mean that technically the university is also at fault?

    As for the beer analogy, if someone illegally trespasses on private property, wouldn't that exonerate the owner of any wrongdoing. I hope so cause I leave beer in the fridge in my garage and sometimes leave the back door open.

  20. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    If they don't scan their shares for 'un-needed things"? I guess, but I'm sure, beyond inappropriate material (pr0n), I'm sure they have some clause somewhere stating they are not responsible for the material on the share. i

    Kinda like your work machine is yours to use, but it is still company property and you can't do bad things on it....

    ..... How does something like the above work, say I check my gmail, do they have legal right to my email since I'm on their machine (say I'm not breaking any laws like sending company secrets to someone outside the company)? I mean it was their property BEFORE I started working for the company...

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