Tag Archives: Distribution Check

Legal Blackmail: Zero Cases Brought Against Alleged Pirates in Sweden

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/legal-blackmail-zero-cases-brought-against-alleged-pirates-in-sweden-180525/

While several countries in Europe have wilted under sustained pressure from copyright trolls for more than ten years, Sweden managed to avoid their controversial attacks until fairly recently.

With Germany a decade-old pit of misery, with many hundreds of thousands of letters – by now probably millions – sent out to Internet users demanding cash, Sweden avoided the ranks of its European partners until two years ago

In September 2016 it was revealed that an organization calling itself Spridningskollen (Distribution Check) headed up by law firm Gothia Law, would begin targeting the public.

Its spokesperson described its letters as “speeding tickets” for pirates, in that they would only target the guilty. But there was a huge backlash and just a couple of months later Spridningskollen headed for the hills, without a single collection letter being sent out.

That was the calm before the storm.

In February 2017, Danish law firm Njord Law was found to be at the center of a new troll operation targeting the subscribers of several ISPs, including Telia, Tele2 and Bredbandsbolaget. Court documents revealed that thousands of IP addresses had been harvested by the law firm’s partners who were determined to link them with real-life people.

Indeed, in a single batch, Njord Law was granted permission from the court to obtain the identities of citizens behind 25,000 IP addresses, from whom it hoped to obtain cash settlements of around US$550. But it didn’t stop there.

Time and again the trolls headed back to court in an effort to reach more people although until now the true scale of their operations has been open to question. However, a new investigation carried out by SVT has revealed that the promised copyright troll invasion of Sweden is well underway with a huge level of momentum.

Data collated by the publication reveals that since 2017, the personal details behind more than 50,000 IP addresses have been handed over by Swedish Internet service providers to law firms representing copyright trolls and their partners. By the end of this year, Njord Law alone will have sent out 35,000 letters to Swede’s whose IP addresses have been flagged as allegedly infringing copyright.

Even if one is extremely conservative with the figures, the levels of cash involved are significant. Taking a settlement amount of just $300 per letter, very quickly the copyright trolls are looking at $15,000,000 in revenues. On the perimeter, assuming $550 will make a supposed lawsuit go away, we’re looking at a potential $27,500,000 in takings.

But of course, this dragnet approach doesn’t have the desired effect on all recipients.

In 2017, Njord Law said that only 60% of its letters received any kind of response, meaning that even fewer would be settling with the company. So what happens when the public ignores the threatening letters?

“Yes, we will [go to court],” said lawyer Jeppe Brogaard Clausen last year.

“We wish to resolve matters as much as possible through education and dialogue without the assistance of the court though. It is very expensive both for the rights holders and for plaintiffs if we go to court.”

But despite the tough-talking, SVT’s investigation has turned up an interesting fact. The nuclear option, of taking people to court and winning a case when they refuse to pay, has never happened.

After trawling records held by the Patent and Market Court and all those held by the District Courts dating back five years, SVT did not find a single case of a troll taking a citizen to court and winning a case. Furthermore, no law firm contacted by the publication could show that such a thing had happened.

“In Sweden, we have not yet taken someone to court, but we are planning to file for the right in 2018,” Emelie Svensson, lawyer at Njord Law, told SVT.

While a case may yet reach the courts, when it does it is guaranteed to be a cut-and-dried one. Letter recipients can often say things to damage their case, even when they’re only getting a letter due to their name being on the Internet bill. These are the people who find themselves under the most pressure to pay, whether they’re guilty or not.

“There is a risk of what is known in English as ‘legal blackmailing’,” says Mårten Schultz, professor of civil law at Stockholm University.

“With [the copyright holders’] legal and economic muscles, small citizens are scared into paying claims that they do not legally have to pay.”

It’s a position shared by Marianne Levine, Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Stockholm University.

“One can only show that an IP address appears in some context, but there is no point in the evidence. Namely, that it is the subscriber who also downloaded illegitimate material,” she told SVT.

Njord Law, on the other hand, sees things differently.

“In Sweden, we have no legal case saying that you are not responsible for your IP address,” Emelie Svensson says.

Whether Njord Law will carry through with its threats will remain to be seen but there can be little doubt that while significant numbers of people keep paying up, this practice will continue and escalate. The trolls have come too far to give up now.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

/etc/os-release

Post Syndicated from Lennart Poettering original http://0pointer.net/blog/projects/os-release.html

One of
the new configuration files systemd introduced is /etc/os-release
.
It replaces the multitude of per-distribution release files[1] with
a single one. Yesterday we decided
to drop
support for systems lacking /etc/os-release
in systemd since recently the majority of the big distributions adopted
/etc/os-release and many small ones did, too[2]. It’s our
hope that by dropping support for non-compliant distributions we gently put
some pressure on the remaining hold-outs to adopt this scheme as well.

I’d like to take the opportunity to explain a bit what the new file offers,
why application developers should care, and why the distributions should adopt
it. Of course, this file is pretty much a triviality in many ways,
but I guess it’s still one that deserves explanation.

So, you ask why this all?

  • It relieves application developers who just want to know the
    distribution they are running on to check for a multitude of individual release files.
  • It provides both a “pretty” name (i.e. one to show to the user), and
    machine parsable version/OS identifiers (i.e. for use in build systems).
  • It is extensible, can easily learn new fields if needed. For example, since
    we want to print a welcome message in the color of your distribution at boot
    we make it possible to configure the ANSI color for that in the file.

FAQs

There’s already the lsb_release tool for this, why don’t you
just use that?
Well, it’s a very strange interface: a shell script you have
to invoke (and hence spawn asynchronously from your C code), and it’s not
written to be extensible. It’s an optional package in many distributions, and
nothing we’d be happy to invoke as part of early boot in order to show a
welcome message. (In times with sub-second userspace boot times we really don’t
want to invoke a huge shell script for a triviality like showing the welcome
message). The lsb_release tool to us appears to be an attempt of
abstracting distribution checks, where standardization of distribution checks
is needed. It’s simply a badly designed interface. In our opinion, it
has its use as an interface to determine the LSB version itself, but not for
checking the distribution or version.

Why haven’t you adopted one of the generic release files, such as
Fedora’s /etc/system-release?
Well, they are much nicer than
lsb_release, so much is true. However, they are not extensible and
are not really parsable, if the distribution needs to be identified
programmatically or a specific version needs to be verified.

Why didn’t you call this file /etc/bikeshed instead? The name
/etc/os-release sucks!
In a way, I think you kind of answered your
own question there already.

Does this mean my distribution can now drop our equivalent of
/etc/fedora-release?
Unlikely, too much code exists that still
checks for the individual release files, and you probably shouldn’t break that.
This new file makes things easy for applications, not for distributions:
applications can now rely on a single file only, and use it in a nice way.
Distributions will have to continue to ship the old files unless they are
willing to break compatibility here.

This is so useless! My application needs to be compatible with distros
from 1998, so how could I ever make use of the new file? I will have to
continue using the old ones!
True, if you need compatibility with really
old distributions you do. But for new code this might not be an issue, and in
general new APIs are new APIs. So if you decide to depend on it, you add a
dependency on it. However, even if you need to stay compatible it might make
sense to check /etc/os-release first and just fall back to the old
files if it doesn’t exist. The least it does for you is that you don’t need 25+
open() attempts on modern distributions, but just one.

You evil people are forcing my beloved distro $XYZ to adopt your awful
systemd schemes. I hate you!
You hate too much, my friend. Also, I am
pretty sure it’s not difficult to see the benefit of this new file
independently of systemd, and it’s truly useful on systems without systemd,
too.

I hate what you people do, can I just ignore this? Well, you really
need to work on your constant feelings of hate, my friend. But, to a certain
degree yes, you can ignore this for a while longer. But already, there are a
number of applications making use of this file. You lose compatibility with
those. Also, you are kinda working towards the further balkanization of the
Linux landscape, but maybe that’s your intention?

You guys add a new file because you think there are already too many? You
guys are so confused!
None of the existing files is generic and extensible
enough to do what we want it to do. Hence we had to introduce a new one. We
acknowledge the irony, however.

The file is extensible? Awesome! I want a new field XYZ= in it! Sure,
it’s extensible, and we are happy if distributions extend it. Please prefix
your keys with your distribution’s name however. Or even better: talk to us and
we might be able update the documentation and make your field standard, if you
convince us that it makes sense.

Anyway, to summarize all this: if you work on an application that needs to
identify the OS it is being built on or is being run on, please consider making
use of this new file, we created it for you. If you work on a distribution, and
your distribution doesn’t support this file yet, please consider adopting this
file, too.

If you are working on a small/embedded distribution, or a legacy-free
distribution we encourage you to adopt only this file and not establish any
other per-distro release file.

Read the documentation for /etc/os-release.

Footnotes

[1] Yes, multitude, there’s at least: /etc/redhat-release,
/etc/SuSE-release, /etc/debian_version,
/etc/arch-release, /etc/gentoo-release,
/etc/slackware-version, /etc/frugalware-release,
/etc/altlinux-release, /etc/mandriva-release,
/etc/meego-release, /etc/angstrom-version,
/etc/mageia-release. And some distributions even have multiple, for
example Fedora has already four different files.

[2] To our knowledge at least OpenSUSE, Fedora, ArchLinux, Angstrom,
Frugalware have adopted this. (This list is not comprehensive, there are
probably more.)