p2p news interview / p2pnet: Organised Music in the shape of EMI Group, Vivendi Universal, Sony BMG and Warner Music, was the first to start suing its customers, using the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) as the front.
While Jack Valenti was still running things at the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), the Big Seven movie studios held off. However, now Dan ‘Jedi’ Glickman and Bob ‘Boba Fett’ Pisano are in charge, it’s a different picture.
Tinfoil’s Joe McGuire has what may be the first interview with an MPAA victim, a US Marine who served in Desert Storm and Somalia.
Sadly, it probably won’t be the last >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Jane Doe, Movie Pirate
By Joe McGuire – Tinfoil
Listening to the MPAA, people using Kazaa and other file-sharing networks are causing the downfall of the movie industry and killing kittens.. After interviewing one of the California Jane Does recently targeted by the MPAA, we have to suggest otherwise.
The MPAA has played things a little cooler than the RIAA with regards to file sharing. Well, the MPAA lawyers haven’t been as active attacking people sharing files. Perhaps it’s because, unlike mp3s, full movies are just huge files and not as easily downloaded and shared. Perhaps it’s because the quality of many of the files, especially screeners, are horrible. Or maybe it’s because the movie houses aren`t as willing as the record companies to finance lawsuits against the very people who pay their bills. At least, that used to be the case. Recently, the MPAA opened the gates to release the hounds.
Typically, we at tinfoil.music limit our coverage to things musical, but a woman, let’s call her Jane, contacted us asking for help. We’re not lawyers, thankfully, but we aren’t useless. After giving Jane contact information for some law-talking types, links to valuable resources and an ear to hear her story, we decided it also needed to be heard by others.
Jane isn’t a pirate. That much is obvious. She’s a consumer, a connoisseur of B-movies in the horror genre. Who can blame her? Jane is also an ex-Marine, proudly serving her country in Desert Storm and Somalia.
These days, she spends a lot of time raising money to help families with adoptions services and counselling. Her only income now is her veteran’s compensation. It keeps her in her apartment and puts food on the table, but it doesn’t offer a lot of money for luxury items like the horror movies she so enjoys. So she chooses carefully, sometimes borrowing movies from friends and sometimes downloading from p2p networks.
Well, she got popped.
Jane forwarded me the documents the MPAA lawyers sent her. When she first received the papers, she thought it was a joke. She had a couple snippets of poor quality screeners that weren’t anywhere close to DVD quality. Hell, they weren’t even VHS quality. They also advertised the web site for the distributor of the file, which is still in operation. Unfortunately, she ignored it, hoping it would go away.
She’s since learned lawyers employed by the entertainment industry won’t go away without an exorcism, and even then they leave stains in the carpet.
It was after the second and more threatening contact a couple months later that she started to get concerned. As it turns out, there aren’t many people willing to help someone the entertainment industry has branded a pirate. Even if they’re innocent, how can you fight their billions?
Jane was finally was able to contact someone representing the MPAA who offered to settle this for USD$4,000. She talked with lawyers about representing her and at minimum, they said they’d charge her USD$1,000 for *trying* to negotiate a better settlement. But no promises , of course.
And shed learned it would take a *minimum* of USD$5,000 to even start taking it to court.
Clearly, the settlement fee is cleverly engineered to be just under the cost of putting the case before a judge, where the questionable, in my eyes, evidence would stand an excellent chance of being thrown out.
With the help of Jon over at p2pnet.net, we put together some questions for Jane.
TMusic: Tell us a little about yourself.
Jane Doe: I ‘m a 36 year old female in California, recently married. I live in a mostly retired community so I spend time assisting others in the complex. I also volunteer time for a local charity that raises money to help families with adoption services and counselling. I help with getting information out to members and make blankets to give to the children. I enjoy sewing making handmade teddy bears, computers and gardening for hobbies. I enjoy being creative and helping others. My source of income is from my veteran`s compensation. I served in the Marine Corps 90-94 deployed to Saudi Arabia (Desert Storm) and Somalia (Restore Hope).
TMusic: Do you consider yourself computer literate?
Jane Doe: I just use computers as a hobby, doing miscellaneous projects for people; business cards and stuff like that on my pc. I also prepare income taxes each year for a few people, and do simple computer repair for friends and family or installation and diagnosis of simple issues.
TMusic: What p2p client were you using at the time?
Jane Doe: I used Kazaa-Lite, the 100% safe, 100% legal, and 100% fun (until the MPAA sues Me) program.
TMusic: What steps (in any) did you take to ensure that you were safe from prosecution?
Jane Doe: I use a DSL using PPOE. I don`t keep Kazaa program on my pc I use it then I delete it and install it if im using it again. I usually try to disable file sharing but obviously it slipped my mind on this occasion.
TMusic: Did you know that sharing copyrighted files is illegal?
Jane Doe: I thought only if I was reselling them or if I was the one originally putting out the movie
TMusic: How many files do they accuse you of sharing?
Jane Doe: I’m being accused of downloading two movies [which if being downloaded off of Kazaa would have to be four files [The movies were split into two files each Tin]
TMusic: Why did you download the files you are accused of downloading?
Jane Doe: I enjoy scarry movies and I get pissed off when I pay $20.00 to get into the theatre and the movie is garbage.
TMusic: How do you think the MPAA caught you?
Jane Doe: Sitting on Kazaa for endless boring hours looking for specific files
TMusic: When did the MPAA lawyers originally contact you?
Jane Doe: I originally received a subpoena from my ISP being named in the Doe Lawsuits in December, 2004
TMusic: What did you do at the time of the original contact?
Jane Doe: First of All I never received any messages or warnings. I was served by my ISP named as Jane Doe. I thought it was a joke. I just put it aside.
TMusic: What are the options presented to you by the MPAA?
Jane Doe: They said they would settle for $4,000 or that they would consider a counter offer. I offered the price of admission to two movies. Needless to say, they didn`t accept.
TMusic: You have been accused of sharing only two movies. Do you consider yourself to be a pirate?
Jane Doe: NO not as the MPAA is implying
TMusic: Has your ISP, SBC Global, been of any help to you whatsoever?
Jane Doe: Yes, they provided information to a site called subpoena defense alliance, which had some helpful links.
TMusic: What resources have you used online in an effort to learn more of the charges brought against you?
- Anti-RIAA Central
TMusic: Have you contacted any lawyers to represent you? What has been their response so far?
Jane Doe: I posted on legal match and haven`t yet received a response. I contacted a local lawyer who said he wanted $100.00 for a half an hour just to even look at the paper work. I then contacted Ira Rothken said he handles bigger cases, gave me some resources said if I had no luck contact him again. Kronenberger & Associates said I’d be better off to settle to save cost. I requested to join the Defense@downhillbattle.org peer to peer defense fund twice NO RESPONSE. Information@eff.org. gave me referral somewhere else.
TMusic: Where and when did you first learn about file-sharing?
Jane Doe: Probably about two years ago when I first got my PC, just from friends in town talking about watching music videos.
TMusic: Do any of your friends do it?
Jane Doe: Yes, but just for there personal listening or viewing.
TMusic: What do your family and friends think about you becoming a victim?
Jane Doe: My family thinks if there is trouble I will manage to find it ha! Out of 12 in California I manage to be one. They don`t understand. Why they are bothering with me though about two movies?
TMusic: Have you heard about the other women prosecuted?
Jane Doe: I’d heard a little regarding the RICO violation. I researched a little of each of the names and Mrs Andersen saw my posting on yahoo the same one you saw and responded back to me offering some helpful advice.
TMusic: What do you think about their stances?
I agree with Santangelo, that I to wish to try and stand up for the little guy. As I wrote in the earlier questionnaire, why are they not going after tmd moviez.com (I know they will not be very happy with me after reading this)? If they are not, then they can come and help me with me legal costs. As far as Andersen states, I too felt like I was being bullied. Early in the lawsuit, I keep getting tons of court paperwork at my door and in the mail and it’s intimidating. I have no clue what it means and just panic. But I don`t wish to settle. The MPAA`s reason for the lawsuit doesn`t make sense if they’re going after the little person like me. What really is the reason? Even if all the California Does settle, that won’t cover the cost of even the court paperwork.
TMusic: Do you believe the studios are suffering from hard times because of file sharers?
Jane Doe: DEFINITELY NOT !!!!! just look at the box office sales of these movies. More money and time is being wasted by the MPAA for big time lawyers to hassle us little guy then the money the file sharers have supposedly cost the movie industry. These are all things I’ve researched. As far as the number of Does and the number of files they downloaded goes, it’s an average of two per Doe.
TMusic: What would you say to other people who are sharing files, or are thinking about it?
Jane Doe: BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING !!!!
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First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win
- Mohandas Gandhi
Tired of being treated like a criminal? They depend on you, not the other way around. Don’t buy their ‘product’. Do bug your local political representatives. Use emails, snail-mail, phone calls, faxes, IM, stop them in the street, blog. And if you’re into organizing, organize petitions, organize demonstrations and then turn up on your local political rep’s doorstep, making sure you’ve contacted your local tv/radio station/newspaper in advance.