Category Archives: MPAA

5V ≠ 12V

A couple weeks ago my network router at home finally died (it was a Linksys WRT54G), but I certainly got my money out of it (I got it when it first came out which was probably 4 or 5 years ago). Every light on it flashed, which couldn’t be good… so I replaced it.

Long story short is I bought another one (same model) and just swapped it out with the new one (using the old power supply). Well it was doing some weirdness every 24 hours or so where the power light would flash and it would loose Internet connectivity (all other lights were fine) and if you unplugged it and plugged it back in, you were golden again. Everything I looked at online was saying a flashing power light meant the firmware was screwed up (I didn’t change anything with it). Finally I decided to look closer at the power supply… even though it was the same model, the new version runs on 12 volts and the old one ran on 5 volts.

So I guess you can run a 12 volt piece of equipment on a 5 volt power supply and it will work (for awhile anyway).

Update

Ironically, you would think I would have learned my lesson about wireless security especially after the MPAA/Universal are suing me. But alas I didn’t… I have better things to do than muck with it. Rather annoying that Linksys routers come configured to be wide open (wireless) by default… Hopefully no one did any nastiness from an IP address I “own” in the last 2 weeks. :) I probably would have never noticed it except I was in the config area trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with it.

Oh Wait… We Don’t Own The Copyright

This is something I’ve known about for a few months (obviously), but now that I ran across the information on other sites, I don’t see any issue with posting about it now…

Universal City Studios Productions (the entity suing me [more or less] on behalf of the MPAA) doesn’t actually have a legal right to sue because they didn’t own the copyright. {lol}

You can read the motion to dismiss over here if you are bored.

It is of course a technicality, and assuming the whole case is indeed thrown out, I’m sure once they get their heads screwed on straight they will probably start the whole process again with the correct entity (you know, one that actually owns a valid copyright). :)

Regardless if they do (or don’t) want to come after me again (again, assuming it is thrown out), it opens up a whole new can of worms. For the hundreds of people that “settled” for $2,500, are those settlements even legal/valid? If they turn out to be invalid, what can I do to help everyone get their settlement money back from Universal/MPAA? They’re legal right to make settlements with people would be along the same lines as me settling with you for downloading Star Wars. I’m thinking if people were paying me because I told them I owned the copyright to Star Wars (but I didn’t really) may be illegal in itself.

Request

I never received a copy of the proposed settlement agreement (I didn’t request one since it wasn’t an option in my mind), but if anyone happens to have one or know anyone who has a settlement agreement for allegedly downloading Meet The Fockers, could you leave a comment here on this post (I’ll contact you to coordinate getting a copy). That way my lawyers can go over it and see if it’s legally binding if Universal City Studios Productions never owned the copyright to begin with.

I saw it on Tech Dirt, but I knew about it first (I swear!).. hah

http://techdirt.com/articles/20061031/192204.shtml

White And Nerdy

I have to thank my old roommate Tracy for this… she apparently thinks of me whenever she hears this song. haha Great.

The RIAA/MPAA should take a note here… I never heard of this song until Tracy told me to go find it on YouTube… and I just purchased the whole album via iTunes Music Store because of it. I would have never gone to the store to buy it, but one-click purchasing of the album makes it easy. Now if you could just do this with DVDs, I would buy/watch more. And I guarantee I don’t have a unique viewpoint.

Update

Hahahaha… speaking of which, I’ve been listening to the album and just heard “Don’t Download This Song”, which you can download for free over here.

Lyrics

Once in a while
Maybe you will feel the urge.
To break into national copyright law
By downloading mp3s
From file sharing sites
Like morphous or grogster or limewire or kazza.
But deep in your Heart.
You know the guilt would drive you mad
And the shame would leave a permanent scar
Cause you start out stealing songs
Then you’re robbing liquor stores
And selling Crack
And running over school kids with your car

[Chorus]
So Don’t Download This Song
The record store is where you belong
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh Don’t Download This Song

Oh you don’t want to mess
With the R I Double A
They’ll sue you if you burn that Cdr.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a grandma
Or a seven year old girl
They’ll treat you like the evil Hard-bitten criminal scum you are

[Chorus]
So Don’t Download This Song (don’t go)
Pirating music all day long
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh Don’t Download This Song

Don’t take away money
From artists just like me
How else can I afford another solid gold Hum V
And diamond studded swimming pools
These things don’t grow on trees
So all I ask is everybody Pleaseeeeee

[Chorus]
Don’t Download This Song (Don’t do it No No)
Even Lars Urlich Know it’s wrong (You could just ask him)
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should (You Really Should)
Oh Don’t Download This Song

Don’t Download This Song (Oh please don’t you do it or you)
Might Wind up in Jail like Tommy Chong (Remember Tommy)
Go and buy the CD (Right Now) like you know that you should (Go out and Buy it)
Oh Don’t Download This Song.

Don’t Download This Song (No no no no no no)
Or you’ll burn in hell before to long (And you deserve it)
Go and buy the CD (Just buy it) like you know that you should (You should get it)

New Business Model For Catching Movie Pirates

Well first of all, I was just checking this site out because this is probably the most amazing homemade halloween costume ever made, but it gave me a really good marketing idea for the MPAA…

They should just setup an affiliate program and pay affiliate marketers 25% of the fees they collect from the lawsuits/threats. Dude, I would be the biggest affiliate marketer for the MPAA in the world (seriously, I can guarantee that). Anyway, here’s a freebie for the MPAA (if they want to do an “under the table” affiliate program, they have my address for the check)… ;)

Nate used Photoshop to enlarge an image of Wolverine’s claws from the X-Men movie that he had downloaded.

Oh also, I would like to turn in Mark Cuban for movie piracy. :)

http://www.muc.muohio.edu/~natedogg/main.htm

How The MPAA Launched My Blog

Someone pointed out something kind of funny/ironic… Since the MPAA decided to sue me, they have actually made my blog a few times more popular than their own site (mpaa.org). If you look look at the Alexa graph below, the green line is the old URL for this blog, the blue line is the new URL (when I switched over to my own domain) and the red line is the MPAA’s website.

The orange arrow coincides with the day I first heard about the lawsuit (and posted about it).

The odd thing is it actually looks like their site is getting less traffic over time (not a good direction to go). Maybe they would like to buy some advertising space on my blog for their anti-piracy propaganda? :) Hey, you never know… it could happen!

Marketing Lesson #1

Figure out how to get the MPAA to sue you.

Another MPAA Partner On The Pyramid Of Piracy

So back in June, I made a post that helps people understand the MPAA’s “Pyramid of Piracy”. As I pointed out last month, BitTorrent.com (the company, not the software), which is one of the MPAA’s partners is actually one of the biggest “facilitators” by their own definition.

Well now the MPAA has at least one other partner that is also on the Pyramid of Piracy… and this one is higher up in the pyramid. Guba.com is a Top Site on the pyramid.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2019308,00.asp

It will be interesting to see how long before an MPAA partner is at the top of their pyramid as a “Supplier”. Oh wait, maybe the MPAA is saving that slot for itself. ;)

Update

Speaking of movies, I went to the movies last night for the first time in a long, long time and I saw Black Dahlia. A pretty crappy movie… up there on the “crap scale” with A Thin Red Line. Not only was it not worth the $10 movie ticket, it wouldn’t be worth the bandwidth to download it (legally or illegally).

Now I remember why I don’t go to the movies… Because they are are boring compared to real life and an utter waste of time. Maybe if someone would make a good movie, the MPAA wouldn’t be pissing and moaning about declining ticket sales. :)

The Film Is Not Yet Rated: Unsuitable For Minors

I wonder if the MPAA is just pissed off they were busted for illegal movie copying when this movie was submitted to them or what?

The documentary that is critical of the MPAA was given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA. In their own words, it means this:

This rating declares that the Rating Board believes this is a film that most parents will consider patently too adult for their youngsters under 17. No children will be admitted. The reasons for the application of an NC-17 rating can be excessive violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse or any other elements which, when present, most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children.

I can’t wait to see this movie now… Something critical of the MPAA, and we might get excessive violence, sex and drugs thrown in there as well (I’m hoping for all of the above). Either way, it surely will be interesting to see what’s in there that the MPAA is trying to protect our youth from. ;)

While I can’t be 100% critical of the MPAA since I haven’t seen the movie (for all I know, maybe 50% documentary and 50% porn), from the description it sounds like every other PG-13 Hollywood flick to me…

We’ve had investigative documentaries about Wal-Mart, about Enron, about burgers and newspapers and the whole military-industrial can of worms. So it was high time we had one about the corporate world of Hollywood moviemaking, and that is what Kirby Dick has given us, indirectly, with this extremely watchable study of the Motion Picture Association of America, or MPAA: a bureaucratic creature of the Hollywood studio system which enforces self-regulatory censorship.

Dick reveals it to be a bizarre institution: secretive, cantankerous and paranoid, high-handedly slapping certificates on movies ranging from G – all ages allowed – up to an R (under-17s need parent or guardian present) and then an R-17 (no under-17s allowed at all). This last rating is the equivalent to our 18 certificate, less strict by one year, but still commercial catastrophe for film-makers hoping to get their product out to the all-important youth market. The MPAA never discusses its reasoning, and never reveals the identities of its “raters” or members of its absurdly pompous “appeals board” which, in certain cases, will grandly condescend to reconsider its verdict, prior, in the vast majority of cases, to solemnly announcing that the original decision was correct.

Maybe the fact that it’s a documentary and not a work of fiction makes it more damaging to our youth or something. If that’s the case, then I guess the MPAA more or less confirmed the movie’s validity that the MPAA’s rating system is whacked out. {shrug}

http://film.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/Critic_Review/Guardian_review/0,,1862074,00.html

A trailer for the PG-13 “Teaching Mrs. Tingle” was rejected when a shot of a dog licking a wine bottle was said to promote teen drinking.
Update

Maybe the MPAA shouldn’t press the internal “red alert” button if someone is critical of them. It’s actually quite fun to see what people *really* think about you (at least IMO). This guy thinks I’m an ‘egocentric homosexual’ for example. And a ton of environmentalists have no love for me over here as another example. See? It’s fun. :)

Plus it would be super lame and boring if everyone in the world liked you.

Download Meet The Fockers Via BitTorrent

You may or may not know, the MPAA and BitTorrent “joined forces to protect film copyrights” (the MPAA’s words, not mine) last November (see press release).

Search for Torrent Files

  

From Bram Cohen (BitTorrent CEO):

“BitTorrent, Inc. discourages the use of its technology for distributing films without a license to do so. As such, we are pleased to work with the film industry to remove unauthorized content from BitTorrent.com’s search engine.”

From Dan Glickman (MPAA Chairman and CEO):

“We are glad that Bram Cohen and his company are working with us to limit access to infringing files on the BitTorrent.com website,” said Glickman. “They are leading the way for other companies by their example.”

So, uhm… I wonder how well that’s working out for the MPAA these days… They are the MPAA’s strategic partner, so I can only assume that what they do with movies has the MPAA’s full blessing. With that in mind, I went to BitTorrent.com, and did a search for the movie that I allegedly downloaded via BitTorrent. BitTorrent.com will give you 15 different options for downloading Meet The Fockers.

They are even kind enough to give you some HTML you can copy/paste so you can find anything you want (see search box in the upper right of this post).

Now by the MPAA’s own definition, BitTorrent.com is a “facilitator” on the Pyramid of Internet Piracy.

It seems to me like it’s a very odd and confusing message the MPAA is giving to everyone. On one hand, they promote the usage of BitTorrent.com in their own press releases, yet they issue another release outlining the “Pyramid of Internet Piracy”, which includes one of their major strategic partners.

Huh? So the MPAA wants to sue the bottom feeders on the pyramid, but publicly promote the facilitators. Maybe the MPAA will just keep moving up the pyramid and start promoting “top sites” and “suppliers” too. {shrug} I don’t generally consider myself a stupid guy, but I’m confused.

Although when you think about it, it may actually be a brilliant idea… “Let’s show consumers how to download our movies, then we can extort bill them for $2,500. Check it out, we just sold a $9.43 DVD for $2,500 (a 26,500% markup).”

Update

WTF??? Talladega Nights (a movie that just came out in theaters today) is available for download via the MPAA’s partner site. I didn’t download it myself, but I can only assume it’s a free download?

The MPAA’s press release let us (consumers) know that BitTorrent.com has been working with the film industry to remove unauthorized content from their search engine. So I can only assume these are authorized distributions of movies? Giving away movies via the Internet on the day the movie comes out in theaters just seems like an odd business model to me. They should put together an affiliate program, so we can trick our friends into illegally downloading movies and then we could get a cut of the settlement. Gimme 40%, and I’m down. I’ll promote the hell out of it. :)

I’m starting to think that maybe it’s not me that’s destroying the movie industry, maybe it’s the MPAA.

Funding A Movie

Here’s something kind of funny/ironic with the whole MPAA thing going on…

I got a proposal in the mail today from a film production company that wants me to invest/fund their movie for a 14% return on the investment plus title of “Executive Producer” on the movie.

“Based on those factors, it should receive a PG-13 rating from the MPAA.”

I wonder if they know that if they submit a movie for rating to the MPAA with me as the executive producer that it will automatically be stamped NC-17? :)

Wow… Crazy Traffic.

First I got wired, then someone came along and slashed me, then someone dugg me, then I was farked by someone I hardly know. After basking in the afterglow, a vampire came by and slashed me (again!) and told me I was delicious.

The last 24 hours saw more traffic to my blog than any other day (it was a good stress test for WordPress, and my caching mechanism seems to have worked well).

But here’s the low down… Wired Magazine issued their August issue in the last few days, which had an article about the whole MPAA lawsuit in there. Slashdot picked it up, and made it’s front page. Digg then picked it up (front page there too) and it was one of the most popular stories for the week within a few hours. Then Fark picked it up and it was a front page story there too.

Now here’s the funny part… today Slashdot is running a front page story about how popular that Slashdot article was yesterday. :)

Looks like it also made the front of del.icio.us too.

The Important Part

Okay, so now that I have 150 million eyes, I want to take advantage of that situation for the greater good of mankind, and ask a favor… if you are reading this and you happen to know Alessandra Ambrosio, will you send me her phone number? :) (BTW, if you don’t know who she is, click here.)

Update

Someone saw it in a print edition of some big Swedish newspaper and sent it to me:

http://www.aftonbladet.se/vss/it/story/0,2789,862915,00.html

No idea what it says, but who’s that handsome chap? :)

Update #2

Hahaha! I was just getting dinner and some random person recognized me.

Wired Magazine Article

Okay, okay… I’ve had the issue for a couple days now, and I was a bit torn if I was going to post anything about it on my blog or not. I didn’t like a few things about it… For one thing, I’m not a “hero” (I’m a pretty normal guy), but they titled the article Shawn Hogan, Hero. Anyway, today it seems everyone knows because I’ve been bombed with emails, phone calls, etc. about it. People have scanned the article and posted it around and it also made the front page of Slashdot today.

So I guess at this point the world knows about it, so if you want to read it, here it is…

http://wired.com/wired/archive/14.08/start.html?pg=3

P.S. – it was kind of funny to see my mug shot in Wired Magazine’s table of contents (in the August print edition).

Update

Just saw someone dugg the Wired article and it made the front page of digg.com too.

Update #2

I’ve been getting bombed with requests from people to donate. If anyone really wants to donate, take that money and donate to the EFF instead.

I Figured Out Where My Car Is

Okay, so you know how my car got stolen a few weeks ago? I just had an epiphany and realized what really happened to it…

The MPAA/Universal Studios hired someone to steal my car. They didn’t do it because just want to annoy me or because they thought it had anything cool in it (which it didn’t… except for my sunglasses). Nope… the real reason is they want to see if I would lie to my insurance company to try and claim I had other stuff in it which I didn’t, then have my car magically turn up with whatever stuff they were hoping I would claim not there. Then they could somehow use that against me to show my “bad character”. :)

Disclaimer

In case you are brain-dead, this is a JOKE by the way. As much as I would *love* for it to somehow be true (man that would be hilarious), I don’t REALLY think the MPAA stole my car. :)

So everyone reading this can just take your panties out of a bunch… this is a work of fiction out of my overly active imagination, and as far as I know has no truth at all to it.

Oh… speaking of my car, it looks like it’s going to be around 7 weeks before I have a replacement. I had to put in a special order to get the exact one I had before (color and options), so they have to build it especially for me. Lame.

I’m Destroying The Movie Industry

One of the allegations of the whole MPAA lawsuit is that I’m more or less destroying the movie industry because I allegedly downloaded a movie that I own.

So here’s two pictures of some DVDs I own in my living room. I don’t even feel like counting how many movies I have (maybe someone reading this will do it for me and post a comment letting me know how many), but I’m guessing well over 200. The dumbest thing is that of the movies I own, I’ve probably watched (in its entirety) 40 of them. And I’m guessing that 50+ of them, I’ve never even put in a DVD player to TRY to watch (I just don’t have the time to watch TV/movies anymore… but it’s nice to have them in case you ever have nothing else to do… like on a plane).

When it really comes down to it, I’ve probably spent $5,000+ on DVDs that I never watch more than once (and in most cases, never at all) because I’m too lazy to make two trips to Blockbuster (one to rent and then again to return it). And since I buy movies (but don’t immediately watch them), sometimes I forget which movies I already own, so I end up with 2 copies (see 2nd picture).

So uhm… if I’m damaging the movie industry, who in the heck is supporting it? Hell, I support the movie industry so much that I be willing to feed (okay, buy dinner) some movie stars (see this post).


BTW… when shopping for furniture, I realized that entertainment center/media storage units was the hardest stuff to find when looking for something that is quality. So if you are ever looking for good stuff, check out Salamander Designs (Synergy line for me). Good stuff.

Top Sites

I saw the MPAA’s “Pyramid of Internet Piracy” on Digg this morning, and I’m curious if anyone knows what a “Top Site” is (without reading the PDF file below I mean)? I’ve spent countless hours educating myself on everything related to my MPAA case, and this one is new to me.

…clusters of high speed computers known as “Topsites.” The extraordinary speed and power of a Topsite triggers the avalanche that is global Internet piracy.

{scratching head} All I know is clusters of high speed computers with extraordinary speed and power are f’ing expensive (I happen to have first hand knowledge of this – digitalpoint.com gets so much traffic that I’m in the process of building out web and database clusters because a couple servers can’t handle the traffic).

Forgetting about the legality of running a “Topsite” for a second, from a pure business standpoint, why in hell would anyone spend what I can only assume is 6 figures on server clusters to distribute something for free? Whoever is running these “Topsites” should find something better to do with their money/resources IMO. Then again, maybe Topsite servers are cheap (but still having extraordinary speed and power). If that’s the case, maybe I should have purchased some Topsite servers and converted them into web/database servers and saved some money. :)

I Googled “Top Site(s)” and “Topsite(s)” and I couldn’t find any information about it.

I always thought “top sites” were those stupid directories that list the top 10 sites for a category or whatever…

According to the MPAA’s pyramid of piracy, bittorrent.com (which has partnered with MPAA) is a “Facilitator” (see previous post). Strange.

From this: http://mpaa.org/press_releases/pyramid_of_piracy.pdf (don’t ask me why they insist on using PDFs for everything, including images)

I hope the MPAA won’t sue me for using their image. Oh wait, they already are… my bad.

BitTorrent.com Needs To Clean Up Their Act

So apparently the MPAA and BitTorrent, Inc. are working together to clean up piracy (specifically film piracy in this case [of course since they are the MPAA]).

From Dan Glickman (MPAA Chairman and CEO):

“We are glad that Bram Cohen and his company are working with us to limit access to infringing files on the BitTorrent.com website,” said Glickman. “They are leading the way for other companies by their example.”

Okay, that sounds like a good first step (and hopefully down the road they will start selling movies for download). But uhm… they seem to be failing miserably at this. If you do a search for a movie using the search function right at the top of BitTorrent.com, it looks like you can download pretty much anything (and this is the company that the MPAA thinks is “leading the way for other companies by their example”?). I suppose BiTorrent, Inc. could be logging everything that people download and giving it to the MPAA so they can file lawsuits, but wouldn’t that be some sort of entrapment?

All this stuff is very bizarre, but terribly interesting at the same time. We have the MPAA promoting BitTorrent’s site, yet you can download anything illegally right from the site they are promoting. You have Warner Brothers getting ready to distribute movies legally via BitTorrent (and promoting BitTorrent as well), but then at the same time Warner Brothers own message board is full of people helping each other to download Warner Brothers material that is under copyright via BitTorrent (and WB doesn’t currently offer any legal downloads via BitTorrent that I know of).

Either way, if I was the MPAA (or any movie studio like Warner Brothers), I would tell BitTorrent, Inc. to piss off/clean up their crap and at the very LEAST I certainly would stop sending them traffic.

The underlying technology for BitTorrent is nothing short of revolutionary, and if done properly it could change the way any sort of media is distributed (legally), but for some reason they don’t seem to be leveraging what they have. If they can “fix” their issues, I hope they go public, because I would be the first in line to invest in them (the ideas/technology behind it is amazing). BitTorrent, Inc. needs me as a software developer/business consultant I think. :)

Links:

Update

It looks like I’m not the only one shares this viewpoint. Mark Cuban is pretty much saying the same thing over here. While the MPAA isn’t going to do anything to him of course, it’s funny to see him admit to copyright infringement on his blog. :)

“Now I did have to go through some interesting chinese porn to get Scary Movie 4, but i got there.”

I’m Not Trying To Save The World

This is just more blah, blah about the whole MPAA vs. me thing.

One thing that I think people are not understanding here is that I’m not trying to change the world with this. I’m not trying to “take down the MPAA”, change any copyright or file sharing laws or anything else as grandiose as that. Hell, I have expensive billing software that I wrote that is pirated every day (I’m just too lazy to sue them… too much hassle and work IMO).

I’m still not 100% certain what the details are for the stuff the MPAA has against me (other than it was downloading “Meet The Fockers”), but I’m sure it will come out in the discovery process. I do think it will be very interesting to check out their methodology for pinpointing users for their John Doe lawsuits. Even if the world jury lost their minds and I was somehow found guilty and had to pay whatever the court sees fit, the whole process would have been a cool story to tell. And maybe I could even learn something in the whole process. I’ve learned a TON about all sorts of interesting stuff already as a result of this case – for example BitTorrent technology is actually pretty amazing from a purely technical standpoint [other companies like Apple, some Linux distributions, etc. seem to think it's a pretty good technology too]. Even Warner Brothers is going to be distributing movies via BitTorrent (legitimately with DRM intact of course), which I think will be *awesome*. When it comes down to it, it’s all about decentralization and utilizing whatever resources are available. I’m still hoping Apple will do an iTunes Movie Store, and if the backend works with file sharing/swarming technology where users could earn credits for ultimately footing Apple’s bandwidth bills, then all the better.

Anyway, my point is that I’m not trying to save the world… I’ve received countless emails/phone calls from people who treat me like the second coming of you-know-who, and just think people are blowing everything out of proportion (obviously). I’m not interested in writing a book about it or making a movie about it (well, unless maybe someone can somehow slip in a love scene for me with someone like Rachel McAdams… haha!)

Some useful advice from me… “Don’t ever take things at face value if your gut tells you that something is fishy. Ultimately knowledge is power, and the best way to get knowledge is to figure it out on your own. Sometimes you might even come up with a better way of doing things by ‘thinking outside the box’.”

BTW – if Rachel McAdams is reading this… can you call me please, I must have lost your phone number… ;)

Update

OMG dude, I just re-read what I just wrote and I’m an f’ing rambler. Sorry, just ignore me. (but seriously… Rachel – call me.)

Early Neutral Evaluation Conference

Just got back from the Early Neutral Evaluation Conference with Judge William McCurine, Jr. (who was a remarkably nice and likable guy). Overall it was a waste of time (as expected) though because they really just want the two opposing sides to figure out a way they can settle without going to a full trial. Judge McCurine asked ██ â–ˆ █████ ██ ██████████ ██ ████████ ███ ████ (not that the MPAA/Universal offered that)… which of course â–ˆ ████ ██ █████ â–ˆ ████ ██ ████████ ██ ███ ██ ███ ███████████ ███ â–ˆ ███ ███████ ██ █████ ███ ██████ ██ ████ ██ █████ █████ ██████ ████ ████ ████ ████████ ██████ ███████ they asked for it. I guess he isn’t a regular reader of my blog, because if he was, he would have known that already (heh.. that’s a joke BTW).

I almost was late for the whole thing because I forgot how to tie a tie. hahaha!

Their lawyers were blabbing about ███ ██ ███ █████ ██ ████ â–ˆ ████ ████ █████████ ██ ███████ ████ ████████████. Hahaha… that’s a weird argument for a court, eh? Thanks for the compliment… I would pay to hear that argument in court. :)

Since I have no interest whatsoever in their extortion settlement offer, we will be going for a trial. Judge McCurine did say ██ ███ █████ ██ ███ ██ ████ ██ ██ █████ ████ ████ (█████ â–ˆ █████ ██ â–ˆ █████ ██████), so that’s cool.

I guess next up is a mutual discovery plan which is due in 3 weeks.

Also… in the last week, I’ve done a couple different interviews regarding this case, so I’ll post links to them when they are published. :)

Update

I guess these conferences are confidential, so I wasn’t supposed to post all that, oops. :)

Tanya Andersen vs. RIAA

I know this is old news for people that have been following the RIAA and MPAA lawsuits, but it’s new to me (now that I’ve been dragged into it, I’ve been reading all I can find). This entry is more of a bookmark entry for myself.

http://p2pnet.net/story/8273

Some interesting stuff that I may find useful for my suit.

I’m sure they are going to want to go diving into my computers, which is fine with me as long as I have assurances they destroy everything afterwards. I’m certainly not going to let them take clones of every computer I own if I can help it. I have enough source code and trade secrets on my computers that I’m sure millions of people would love to get at it.

A judge ruled Andersen could name her own investigator who’d search only for specific files.

And the RIAA will have to pay his or her bill.

But the most interesting part to me is that she brought forth RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization) allegations against the RIAA about 6 months ago. Since they haven’t been thrown out of of court yet, I’m assuming the counterclaim has enough merit that it will be forced to go to a full trial. I’m thinking I may be able to do the same thing, considering they “offered” a settlement of $2,500 based on no valid information (a random IP address they could have pulled out of thin air). Then when I refused, they flat out threatened me saying that if I didn’t pay, they would take me to court, and my costs incurred would be much more than $2,500 even if I beat their charges.

If they really believe they have a case against me, why are they “letting me off” for $2,500? They have much more to gain by going the court route. Oh wait… maybe because they are extorting money from people.

I’m not a lawyer (so someone please correct me if I’m wrong), but if I’m able to file a counterclaim that doesn’t get thrown out in court, would this prevent them from dropping their original suit against me (forcing it to go to trial and final judgement)?

Preparing For Early Neutral Evaluation Conference

It’s amazing how no matter how many times you tell someone something, they don’t seem to “get it”. Someone called me letting me know they are preparing whatever paperwork they have to file for next weeks Early Neutral Evaluation Conference. They keep letting me know they are working on getting the issue settled.

But here’s the problem… It’s not about the money for me, it never was. I’ve already spent more in legal fees than what I could have settled for.

I will never sign any sort of admission that I did anything (since I didn’t) in exchange for them to drop it. There is nothing the MPAA/Universal Studios could say or do that will make me settle (I wouldn’t settle for $1). I know technically I can’t prevent them from dropping the case, but if I could, I would force it to go to a full trial with final judgement. As far as I’ve been able to research, out of the tens of thousands of RIAA and MPAA lawsuits, not a single one has gone to a final judgement. Does that seem odd to anyone else? (If anyone knows differently, please let me know.)

The bottom line is I would gladly prefer to spend whatever it takes out of my own pocket, rather than just hand over the $2,500 in extortion money they wanted. Regardless of the money spent, there is always a way to indirectly recoup the costs. For example paid advertising displayed to people reading about my case (which at this point is well over 100,000 people, and we haven’t even really begun). Another idea I had was why not put together a website where people could use it to defend themselves from the RIAA and MPAA lawsuits. The only reason people settle with them is because they can’t afford the cost of going to court. Maybe put together a site that generates all the filings/forms they need to defend themselves for a couple hundred bucks or something. BTW, if any lawyer(s) want to do a joint venture on something like that, please let me know.

More info on this whole case can be found over here.

Update

For everyone asking how to contact me in the comments, my email is shawn at this domain. Please put MPAA in the subject so I know I will see it (I get way too much email).

MPAA Offers To Settle (Again)

There is an “Early Neutral Evaluation Conference” on May 23, 2006 to determine if this matter can be settled. Personally, it seems like an utter waste of time because at this point about the only thing I would settle for is if they dropped the case, paid my attorney fees and then dissolve their whole organization.

They offered me an initial settlement of $2,500 (before they decided to take it to court), which was rejected on the basis of principle. Then today I talked to my attorney and they are offering a settlement of $3,500.

Bahahahahahaaha! So if I refused your $2,500 out of principle, what exactly makes you think I’m going to give you $3,500 now? That’s comedy. :)

From everything I’ve read online, the MPAA (and RIAA) has been pretty much extorting everyone simply because they can’t afford to fight it. This certainly will give me something interesting to blog about. I just pray it goes to a full trial, where they will lose and then give everyone else that is being sued a nice lawsuit they lost as a reference for their lawsuit… “MPAA vs. Shawn Hogan” That has a nice ring to it. Maybe this loss will be the start of their demise. (Hmmm… I seem to have quite the aspirations, eh? haha)

From a purely business standpoint, I think all the lawsuits that the MPAA and RIAA are throwing out are only hurting them in the long-run. From everything I’ve read, it does not curb piracy at ALL. I would even argue it increases it because all of a sudden people that weren’t aware you could download music/movies now realize you can (and some will start). Then you are going to compound this by everyone talking about it and reading other’s blogs. I’m a perfect example… from talking my attorney and then researching stuff online as a result of that, I now know that if you have the proper software installed, you can download pretty much any movie (or anything else) you want.

Not only that, but you would think they would be wiser about who they choose to extort.

For as big of an organization they are, my website gets roughly 10,000 times more traffic than theirs (hell, this stupid blog gets more traffic than their site). Then again, digitalpoint.com more traffic than buy.com or adobe.com.. hehe

So what just happened? Well now a few hundred thousands people per day were just educated about 1. about their general extortion and 2. they also now know that you can download whatever you want. I’m starting to think maybe the MPAA might actually kill the movie industry (which this dude shares my viewpoint). If they were smart, they certainly would choose their racketeering targets a little wiser (like maybe someone without the resources to fight and a captive audience of 80 million people per month that will read my viewpoint). This could turn out to be some good/interesting reading though. Reminds me a bit of the Winn and Sims fiasco.

Wanna see something else funny? Check Google’s top 10 results for “MPAA”… It seems I’m not the only one that thinks the MPAA is looney. :)

http://www.google.com/search?q=mpaa

Oh, and just as a side note, they are utter liars… They told me they identified the specific computer that did whatever they claimed and they traced it back to me (of course I knew that was a lie since it never happened). But now they are saying they don’t have any such information (MAC address basically). {rolls eyes}

Update

For everyone asking, it’s case number 06CV0545, Universal vs. Hogan filed in US District Court (California Southern District, Ninth Circuit).

MPAA Suing Me

I’ve been waiting for this lawsuit for a few months now, and yesterday I finally got served the official complaint filed in the US District Court (San Diego).

Now we can finally get this show on the road… I’m sure it will give me all sorts of interesting stuff to blog about in the coming months. :)

I’ll meet with my attorney tomorrow to give them the stuff…

Loeb and Loeb/MPAA Extortion

Got an interesting call from a law firm (Loeb & Loeb) representing the MPAA today. They want me to settle out of court and pay $2,500 for some movie I never downloaded (and ironically enough I actually own the DVD). Of course, I declined their settlement offer and told them I would rather let it go to court.

They are TOTALLY extorting money from people because when I told her I would rather let it go to court, she started to get rather huffy…

Her: You understand that defending this in court will cost you much more than $2,500 in attorney fees, right?
Me: Yep.
Her: We are able to get a default judgement against you which will be substantially more than $2,500.
Me: Okay.
Her: I will let them know to go ahead and file a federal lawsuit against you.
Me: Okay, sounds good.

If you *really* think you have a case against me, why are you “letting me off” for $2,500? You can make much more with a court ruling.

Someone has to stand up to these clowns… their scare tactics make them sounds pretty foolish IMO. First of all, I would rather spend $100,000 and not pay them $2,500 than to just give them $2,500 (it’s about the principle).

Secondly, it should be interesting to see how they are able to get a default judgement against me. I would have to fail to appear in court after receiving a summons. As long as I actually GET a summons, I will be there. Even if they go the route of Winn and Sims (filing a proof of service that never happened), it can be reversed once I find out about it.