Print 11 comment(s) - last by Fnoob.. on Apr 6 at 9:13 PM

The Norwegian Consumer Council and ISPs last week warned P2P users not to sign letters from law firm admitting guilt

Why did the lawyer cross the road? To give P2P users a letter to sign admitting their guilt. I know it was a ridiculous joke, but this is a ridiculous situation.

Last week, a Norwegian law firm decided to take piracy matters into their own hands by ordering local ISP’s to distribute letters to roughly 300 customers who were suspected of sharing files online illegally. Luckily, the Norwegian Consumer Council stepped in and halted the insanity.

The letter sent out by Simonsen Advokatfirma DA, representing the Norwegian video association, includes a confession of guilt for illegal file sharing and makes customers liable for all past and future sharing of files. NCC legal officer, Hans Marius Graasvold, released statements opposing the letter, warning customers not to sign it.

“Under no circumstance should a consumer sign this statement letter,” says NCC legal officer, Hans Marius Grassvold.  “The statement deprives the consumer of due process and puts him in a state of critical legal uncertainty, with practically unlimited legal responsibility. We cannot imagine that this law firm would ever advice their own clients to sign such a letter!”

The Norwegian ISP has joined the NCC in protest against the letter signing, advising their members not to spread the letter around, or customers signing it. Now, the NCC holds copyright laws in high regards, but it feels that any case of unlawful activity should be handled only by the courts.

This really is not a matter of copyright infringement itself but more a matter of private firms taking the law into their own hands. Graasvold claims that the law firm is trying to push the whole legal system out of the picture and uphold justice itself. 

Simonsen claims that ISPs should be the ones to step up and shut down customers internet services if they notice unlawful activity. Graasvold believes otherwise, claiming, “Today, Internet connection is regarded as a service of general good, and closing someone’s Internet access in such cases would be a violation of that person’s human right to participate in society.”

It seems the private firm believes justice is not being upheld by the courts; therefore it is its duty to take a stand. I would have thought the letter to be an April fools’ joke, but the Simonsen is quite serious about it. So, it looks like as long as the NCC is still standing, the courts will be holding the legal guns.

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Future file sharing?
By barjebus on 4/4/2008 12:01:47 PM , Rating: 2
How is it possible to plead guilty to crimes that haven't been committed yet?? The key sentence in that legal document seem to be "makes customers liable for all past and future sharing of files".

Future file sharing? How is that supposed to work?

RE: Future file sharing?
By murphyslabrat on 4/4/2008 12:54:23 PM , Rating: 5
That's how I downloaded my copy of the Halo movie.

RE: Future file sharing?
By wien on 4/4/2008 1:03:14 PM , Rating: 2
I think the idea is that if you share a file you're liable for all future downloads of that file since you made it available in the first place. I haven't read the original text yet though, so I'm not sure.

RE: Future file sharing?
By MrBlastman on 4/4/2008 2:15:00 PM , Rating: 5
Little Johnny was down on his luck. His mom and dad just lost their jobs due to outsourcing in India, their mortgage was upside down due to the housing market crashing and their dog had just swallowed their cat whole, lodging part of its semi-post-digested pubic bone structure in a painful area of its rectal canal creating a infectious legion.

Little Johnny's family wasn't just down on their luck, they were in trouble. Their poor dog was going to waste away within its own waste fluids if something wasn't done fast! Don't even mention that they are about to lose their home and his parents have to learn a new language in order to move to a more competitive job market.

What would he do?

Viola! An Idea sprouted forth. In a flash of pure brilliant thinking, Little Johnny remembered a Wikipedia entry on Quantum Physics and Time Dialation as it has to do with Theoretical Wormholes and Time Travel.

Good thing Little Johnny saved that can of uranium he found on that back-woods road as he googled how to enrich the substance from online.

Using the resources available to him before his family defaulted on their power bill, Little Johnny constructed a Wormhole projection apparatus as well as an integrity expander and opened up a gateway to some far-distant plane.

Little Johnny figured - the RIAA has been cracking down militantly on file sharing, but he had a plan! His Russian cousin taught him the glory of the garbushka, where you could find any amount of copied copywrighted material on a smorgasborg of goodness laid out in a dark area of Moscow.

By utilizing his Wormhole projection device, he projected outwards to a gravity-induced time-dialated area of space where the little green men that probed him months before reminded him of their intent research on the planet.

Little Johnny began pumping out copy after copy of music he snatched up through less-than-legitimate means and began sharing his files and data through this array.

They'll never catch me now! They can't prove that I have shared something with someone that doesn't even exist yet in our current time-space-plane!

Little Johnny went on to become a Billionaire 5 times over as he funneled all sorts of Earth data into the future.

And there you have it - How Little Johnny bilked the Intellectual-Property industry of billions through future file sharing... Or did he? We'll never know... (unless we live long enough)

RE: Future file sharing?
By bdewong on 4/4/2008 5:34:56 PM , Rating: 2
Great post.

I just wanted to say that what he did was not illegal because the in the "time" he was sharing the music, it was no longer copyrighted. :)

RE: Future file sharing?
By Fnoob on 4/6/2008 9:13:55 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm. DUDE! Despite the fact that the economy is bad, the grass has been fantastic of late. That notwithstanding, just what in the hell have YOU been toking?

And plez, do share.

Ambulance chasing in the internet age?
By Carter642 on 4/4/2008 1:13:47 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know the laws in Norway but I doubt that a document like that would hold water in US court. (or Norweigen court for that matter) All one would have to do would be to claim coersion or not having a lawyer present and it would likely be inadmissable.

On the other hand it really doesn't sound criminal in nature, rather it sounds like legal CYA for when the users get a bill for "Damages" that they're "liable" for. That way when the user calls shenanigans the lawyers can hold up their "confession" in claims court and claim breach of contract.

Overall very very shady, hopefully RIAA won't go getting any ideas.

RE: Ambulance chasing in the internet age?
By MrBlastman on 4/4/2008 10:14:17 AM , Rating: 2
We're all automatically guilty according to the RIAA.

Because we aren't buying as much of their music, we must be stealing it.

They believe this clearly rather than accepting that... maybe... A big part of their decreased revenue has to do with the crap they keep trying to call "music" that they pander to to us.

This case in Norway is pretty despicable. Good for the people standing up and fighting against it.

By phxfreddy on 4/4/2008 2:07:23 PM , Rating: 2
Direct TV sent one of these types of legal mechanisms to a friend of mine. He went to a lawyer. The lawyer said pay cause we can fight this easily. He paid the lawyer. The lawyer advised him to settle! LOL He ended up paying Dave (Direct) 3000 dollars. Ouch! And it was handled exactly the same way. My opinion? In the middle ages musicians were treated as fops and idiots and paid accordingly by the courts of old when knights where bold. We later paid them more and treated them as gods. They were anything but. #1 reason for playing in rock band? Ah yes you guessed it ....chix. We paid Mr FirePants real good. But now its returning to what I think is a more normal level. Thousands of people have adequate talent to make music. Its not that hard. The only thing that kept the price high was the cartel doling out the talent in tee-spoons (record companies ). That was the era of the vinyl press when the infrastructure cost alot. The infrastructure is cheap. I have no questions as to why the cartel is broken. And my conservative libertarian butt is waving bye-bye and smiling.

RE: Ambulance chasing in the internet age?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/4/2008 5:33:12 PM , Rating: 2

We're all automatically guilty according to the RIAA.

Because we aren't buying as much of their music, we must be stealing it.

They believe this clearly rather than accepting that... maybe... A big part of their decreased revenue has to do with the crap they keep trying to call "music" that they pander to to us.

This case in Norway is pretty despicable. Good for the people standing up and fighting against it.

You sir win.

I haven't bought a CD since the 90's ended. And maybe because I'm just getting old, but almost everything that has come out in the past decade is just garbage. 20 bucks for a CD that has two good songs, and of course you can't buy just the singles for those two songs ?? Hmmm yeah that stinks, no thanks.

By bobsmith1492 on 4/4/2008 7:21:35 PM , Rating: 2
I reckon it depends on the music you like to listen to. There is indeed good music out there; it just depends on where you look, how you look, and what you're looking for.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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