back to article 'Judge Java' to sueball-slinging smut studio: Test your pirate-hunting tools or walk the plank

A grumble-flick studio will be blocked from lobbing copyright infringement claims at pirates until it proves its tools for identifying illegal downloaders work. Judge William Alsup – of Google v Oracle fame – ordered this week that Malibu Media must show the court that its software can accurately finger users who have …

  1. Alistair Silver badge


    " The geoIP dataset is not known not to be perfect"


  2. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Or is the judge someone who should have been fingered (snigger) downloading adult films so he knows the data is rubbish?

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      From his other work (Oracle Vs Google, Prenda, Google Vs Uber, SCO Vs IBM) Alsup appears to be a judge who knows his onions and doesn't take kindly to being jerked around.

      If I ever met him, I'd like to buy him a beer - but that might get me in trouble for trying to bribe a judge.

  3. Ole Juul

    it's all too obvious

    Kudos to the judge, but I have to wonder why automated geolocation has been taken at face value in so many cases before this. It doesn't take a lot of checking for anybody (including a judge) to see the faults, and certainly that would lead to a proper professional enquiry into the subject. Yes? I guess not. (sigh)

    I personally use an IP that is on a server in another country and which most geolocation tools will show as being on the other side of the continent from where the server is located. I just checked, and Maxmind is one of the ones that shows my IP like that. I don't imagine for one minute that I can't be found, but it certainly won't be by some simple IP lookup.

    1. JassMan

      Re: it's all too obvious

      Not everyone has a reason to obfuscate their browsing habits. Maybe in this the geolocation actually worked but they didn't bother checking the owners of those addresses until after they had lodged the court papers; Pretty stupid I know, but you can never discount the stupidity of get rich quick lawyers and top management.

      They probably found that half the 35 they dropped were cast and crew wanting a copy to add to their CVs and the other half were law enforcement checking the film to see if any laws had been broken.

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: it's all too obvious

        @JassMan good point and a funny scenario.

    2. Chloe Cresswell

      Re: it's all too obvious

      My old IP range used to appear to be about 50 miles east of where I was if you checked it out via geoIP location.

      Which always made me laugh, given the IP range in question was registered to my address, down to the house number and postcode!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: it's all too obvious

        "Which always made me laugh, given the IP range in question was registered to my address, down to the house number and postcode!"

        That's the bit that has me puzzled over this one. Why is geolocation even being used other than as a very rough idea for the complainant to see if the IP is in the jurisdiction of the USA? The only way to get address details is from the ISP, assuming it's not being obfuscated via VPNs/TOR/whatever and the vast majority of the accused, whether infringers or not, will not be doing anything clever to hide their tracks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: it's all too obvious

          GeoLocation is pointless.

          I used to work (based in UK) for a German company.

          Networking routed through Germany

          So from work my IP had a German location (which could be irritating when things tried to be clever, e.g. Google wanting to force on me)

          Conversely, at home I will usually show up as from USA, not UK, as at home typically using via VPN which has US IP address.

    3. eldakka

      Re: it's all too obvious

      The way the adversarial law process works in most "common law" based jurisdictions, it isn't really the judges job to go out and check facts. That's the other sides (legal team) job.

      It's the judge's job to:

      1) rule on the law/applicability of the law (e.g. Waymo: contract law says we can go to arbitration, Judge: No, it says if you meet these conditions you can, but you haven't met those conditions);

      2) at as a 'referee' between the 'teams' - prosecution/plaintiff/defense;

      3) IF it is not a jury trial, then weigh the evidence (finder of fact) to decide on the judgement;

      4) Decide the final sentence/compensation if the plaintiff/prosecution wins.

      If the plaintiff comes in and says "GeoIP is 99% accurate", it isn't up to the judge to determine if that statement is true, as pleadings are taken as true unless there is evidence, presented by the defendants legal team, to doubt that pleading. It's like an old-boys network - he's a lawyer, so of course I can trust what he says, he's one of us! (Judges are - or were - lawyers too).

      So, unless a judge has personal knowledge already, so technical knowledge, or has dealt with cases before that throw doubt on the 99% accurate claim, or has doubt about the veracity of the plaintiffs (e.g. as started to happen with Prenda when word started spreading about their shenanigans), then the benefit of the doubt goes to those presenting the claims. If the judge is unsure about a claim like that, 99%, unless there is some opposition to that claim, then not much evidence needs to be presented to support it. Which is why default judgements occur, because there was no-one to oppose the plaintiffs claims, no one to question the evidence, so as long as the claims aren't completely ridiculous, the judge will take them at their face value and issue a default judgement against the defendant who didn't show up to contest the evidence.

      A judge starting to ask a plaintiff detailed questions, in the absence of a defendant's legal team making opposing arguments, is really bad news for the plaintiff. It shows the judge has starting to become suspicious, skeptical of the plaintiff, he's started to think they are another Prenda. He's started to think "even tho he is a lawyer, I don't think he's one of us anymore"

  4. HaydnH

    Even MaxMind state on the website that lookups are only 24% & 43% accurate when looking for an exact postal address in the UK or US respectively:

  5. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

    Copyright is King

    break almost any other law, including murder or worse, and it's a massive effort to get a conviction that has anywhere close to the effect on the criminal as on his/her victim.

    but the merest suggestion of Copyright Infringement and you're as good as hosed unless you have Power and Wealth to deploy.

    Gangsters arrested and in possession of stolen firearms "get their lives back" faster than some people who've allegedly or in reality, copied and distributed *for free* some movies.

    Wonder how long until West Coast copyright holders and their fully-owned Congresscritters make distribution and possession of movies into a capital crime.

    (like in Noir by KW Jeter)

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