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Thursday, 5 May 2011

US Judge has Ruled: You are Not Your IP Address


I just read that in the US, District Court Judge Harold Baker has decided that you are not necessarily your IP address. In the case in question a Canadian pornography company was trying to have an IP address supoenaed through an ISP as the IP address had been downloading porn illegally, assumedly through a torrent. Harold Baker ruled that allowing a copyright holder to bring a law suit against an IP address rather than a person was not fair. And in my mind this makes sense. I mean, more often than not if an IP address is pirating software, movies or music etc. then it is almost definitely the internet subscriber but it could be a member of their family or one of their friends. Or if you are enough of a deadshit to use an unsecured wifi network it would be some bloke sitting in his car on the street, or your neighbours. Our buddy Harold mentioned in his ruling a case in which US police raided the wrong house because the neighbours of the IP address in question were piggybacking the wifi and downloading child porn.

Apparently when an IP address is subpoenaed the copyright holder rarely intends to take the matter to court, but would much rather save the time and money of the case by bending you over a barrel and molesting an out of court settlement from you. Baker didn't want his court room used to shake money out of hypothetical criminals who are possibly only guilty of subscribing to an internet plan, most of these people are unable to front the money to defend themselves from larger companies, not without taking out a second mortgage I'd wager. I personally think that this is the right ruling, how would you like to get hauled over the coals because one of your mates or relatives illegally downloaded content from your IP? This case might well set a precedent in future cases, or because it involved porn it may not be cited by other more uptight judges. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

72 comments:

  1. Yeah, I agree. Its too easy to hack some wifi's. What if some dude rolls up to your house, hops on your wifi, downloads some illegal stuff and just leaves. They track it back to your i.p. and come looking for the wrong person. So, i.p. is not a person in my eyes.

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  2. This is landmark in my opinion. Things like unsecured routers can make for some real grey around when it comes to holding IPs accountable. This is good! +follow

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  3. This is great. People are finding ways to hack into wifi networks now and the whole "guilty before proven innocent" thing is dumb.

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  4. Couldn't Agree any more than what you said. Great post.

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  5. There's a hundred different ways that someone else could be using your IP, so this was the smart ruling from the judge. Just because an IP is doing something wrong doesn't automatically mean the person who is doing it is the name on the account. Thanks for the heads up about this!

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  6. there was an interesting article on the same topic about a week ago. the police busted in some guy's house for downloading illegal material, when it turns out his neighbor was actually stealing the internet and doing the illegal downloading.

    you never know!

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  7. That's pretty funny shit. Good for me though, God only knows what horrible things my uhhh "IP" address has done.

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  8. Kinda nice to hear that some of my activities won't be linked to the IP mom and dad pay for

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  9. I'm for this ruling, in a way I am against piracy to the extent that it is someones product and people are sharing it illegally. But the lawsuits I have seen where huge company's sue an individual for millions, it's stupid.

    Some company's need to accept the fact they will not stop piracy and pull their heads out.

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  10. This is great news. I live in New Zealand and we just had a law passed where if you download anything illegally you can have your internet terminated for up to 1 year. So many problems with this... Glad to see someone had the balls to get the point across.

    Good find

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  11. Definitely makes sense to me. It's interesting how courts are evolving new rules and regulations for the internet and new technologies.

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  12. I agree, In New Zealand they have a piracy law coming in, using ip's, its just not right. I hope the rethink what they are starting here.

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  13. Whether your network is secure or not, people can still break in and use it. It would be unfortunately to pay for somebody elses crimes.

    And honestly it's not like pirating software/music/movies/porn hasn't been extremely common in the past. I bet the majority of both the US and Canada is guilty for pirating something at some point in their life whether it was a VHS or $2000 software.

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  14. wow a judge who get the basic concepts, great!

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  15. very interesting, great blog keep it up

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  16. this is an epic win for everyone.

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  17. Finally somebody seeing sense!!!
    I just hope that the rest of the world follows suit!

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  18. Nice blog name!

    I guess they could check your hard drive and see the porn on there. Then how do you explain it?

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  19. Good news,
    sounds fair to me

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  20. Finally, someone with some sense. There are so many situations where someone else could be using your connection.

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  21. With computer network so advanced in this days and age, anyone can easily alter their IP address or just use TOR.

    But let's wait and see indeed

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  22. Soon the justice apparatus will have to adjust for the internetz.

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  23. Thats an only locigal ruling, good to see some courts show sense still!

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  24. Glad to know i'm recognized as more than a series of numerals.

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  25. that's a relief. hurray for internet freedom

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  26. Yaaaaaaaay! One win for common sense! Anyone who seriously pirates software knows how to switch, hide, mask, and reroute our IP addresses anyways so all of these legal attaches are generally going after minor offenders.

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  27. This was a very important precedent to set. I applaud that judge and his decision.

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  28. Thank god for having that cleared up!

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  29. I'm glad to hear this. Finally a judge with common sense, thanks for sharing!!

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  30. Good post, didn't know any of this was going on.

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  31. Im canadian, don't need to worry about this. ridiculous that it is somewhere though!

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  32. I don't understand why people don't just visit the free sites.

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  33. I approve of this decision. Here's hoping it'll hold.

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  34. It makes sense, although some of these scumbags are getting a cushy precedent cause of this ruling.

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  35. interesting how it proceeds

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  36. yes i actually heard about this, at least now i know its true

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  37. Great win for the internet!

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  38. pretty interesting. I hadn't heard about this.

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  39. A great win for freedom and reason!

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  40. Interesting read and good points, I've seen people downloading porn and other stuff throught a neighbour's IP way too many times so I totally agree.

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  41. Dammit, I got my internet cut off because someone downloaded a certain movie.
    The thing is, no one in my household watched or even cared about the movie so I have no idea how that happened.

    Yes, our network is secured with am password. Supposedly.

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  42. Hopefully this'll set up precedence

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  43. Have you tried the beta (3.0) of uTorrent? it let you stream instead of download! I love that feature. It doesn't work perfectly, though.

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  44. Very interesting. Great news!

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  45. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!

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  46. excellent, it's about time someone grasped that you can't be held responsible for what happens with your IP
    +following

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  47. It does obviously logically make sense!

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  48. I hope this does set up a precedent, and shows an example to the rest of the world tbh.

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  49. Finally someone learnt that you arent your IP ...

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  50. Makes perfect sense to me!

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  51. Awesome ruling! Great news!

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  52. well that makes sense imo. If any of you get a chance cheack out my videogame site thanks! http://videogames4gamerz.blogspot.com/

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  53. wow great read! im glad that was the ruling that would have been ridiculous otherwise

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  54. Makes sense, a variety of people use an IP

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  55. Damn straight. I dont want to be held responsible for what other people use my connection for when im not there

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  56. Bet that judge is torrenting shit right now for sure

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  57. Today on: basic technological facts catch up with the us justice system.

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  58. The internet is about freedom PERIOD.
    How to Hack Life.

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  59. A step in the right way for illegal torrents!

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  60. That's good news, it's nice to see a precedent set for this type of thing. I don't live in the US but still.
    One fantastic use someone else could have for your IP is getting through their country's censorship. When I'm not home I run mine through a relay network that lets people look at what they want and also temporarily change their address if they need to. I frequently use theirs for various purposes.
    Sharing is caring, fuck censorship :P

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