(aided by one of their many snitchware accomplices) has sent one of their boilerplate DMCA
nastygrams to a broadband user who maintains a Gnutella host cache
when a Gnutella user sparks up their copy of LimeWire or BearShare, the client will bootstrap itself onto the network by grabbing a bunch of IP addresses of other machines running Gnutella clients from a host cache—after all, you need to find other peers somehow. in other words, a host cache is simply a fixed/known machine that provides an up-to-date list of available Gnutella nodes. keep that in mind as you read the note the MPAA sent to this user's ISP:
RE: Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Motion Pictures
Site/URL: gnutella://xxx.xx.xxx.xxx:6346/ [with IP address:
Date of Infringement: 7/22/2002 4:24:46 AM GMT
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) represents the following motion picture production and distribution companies:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
Paramount Pictures Corporation
TriStar Pictures, Inc.
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
United Artists Pictures, Inc.
United Artists Corporation
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Warner Bros., a Division of Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P.
We have received information that an individual has utilized the above referenced IP address at the noted date and time to offer downloads of copyrighted motion picture(s) through a "peer-to-peer" service, including such title(s) as:
American Pie 2
Monsters, Inc. (movie)
Scary Movie II
Star Wars: Episode II
The distribution of unauthorized copies of copyrighted motion pictures constitutes copyright infringement under the Copyright Act, Title 17 United States Code Section 106(3). This conduct may also violate the laws of other countries, international law, and/or treaty obligations.
Since you own this IP address, we request that you immediately do the following:
1. Disable access to the individual who has engaged in the conduct described above, and;
2. Take appropriate action against the account holder under your Abuse Policy/Terms of Service Agreement.
On behalf of the respective owners of the exclusive rights to the copyrighted material at issue in this notice, we hereby state, pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Title 17 United States Code Section 512, that we have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owners, their respective agents, or the law.
Also pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we hereby state, under penalty of perjury, under the laws of the State of California and under the laws of the United States, that the information in this notification is accurate and that we are authorized to act on behalf of the owners of the exclusive rights being infringed as set forth in this notification.
Please contact us at the above listed address or by replying to this email should you have any questions. Kindly include the above noted Reference # in the subject line of all email correspondence.
We thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Your prompt response
Senior Vice President and Director
you can see the problem immediately: this user is not distributing unauthorized copies of anything. remember, all they're doing is providing a list of IP addresses. so, the MPAA's complaint that: "an individual has utilized the above referenced IP address at the noted date and time to offer downloads of copyrighted motion picture(s) through a "peer-to-peer" service...." is completely incorrect.
it's not even analagous to the case Big Content made against Napster. with Napster's architecture a user queried Napster's database of files and was, in turn, presented with a list of hosts that could provide matching file names. with a Gnutella host cache, a file name doesn't enter into it; a host cache doesn't know (and doesn't care) about files, just about the existence of Gnutella nodes.
the issues raised by this particular incident are important. first, we absolutely can not trust Big Content's automated campaign of copyright vigilanteism. they'll get it wrong, and accuse people of things they didn't do. they'll bully ISPs into doing their dirty work, and it will be up to the individual to prove they were innocent. the unintended consequences are frightening, and private organizations can't provide the transparency of process to ensure they've employed the proper safeguards to protect your individual civil rights.
second, and perhaps this is just my natural suspicion at work, Big Content knows that your ISP's not going to be a willing ally in your struggle. if Verizon gets a similar nastygram with my IP address on it, i'm not hopeful of getting a personal note of support from James Earl Jones. this provides Big Content with a back-door to broaden their efforts to cripple competitors to their own sanctioned digital music services.
Big Content knows that going after host caches will cripple Gnutella. since they represent a simple routing function, there's skimpy logical (if not legal) basis for shutting them down, so organizations like the MPAA will go after the weak link in the DMCA chain—your ISP.
anyway, just thank god Big Content isn't legally allowed to hack your computer, eh?