Tag Archives: grande

Piracy Trial Between Record Labels and ISP Grande Postponed

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/piracy-trial-between-record-labels-and-isp-grande-postponed-200306/

The “repeat infringer” issue remains a hot topic in US courts after rightsholders filed lawsuits against several ISPs.

These Internet providers are accused of not doing enough to stop copyright infringers on their networks, even after receiving multiple ‘copyright infringement’ notifications.

Last December, one case resulted in a guilty verdict against Cox. Following a jury trial, the company was ordered to pay a billion dollars in damages to a group of major record labels.

Following the verdict, many of the labels shifted their focus to the next target, ISP Grande Communications. This case was scheduled to go to trial last week but, at the last minute, it was postponed until September.

This decision came after the court advised both parties that it only had time for a six-day trial, as opposed to the ten days originally requested. Both the defendant and plaintiffs argued that considering the extensiveness of the case, this was not enough, so they filed a request for a delay.

“The Parties do not believe that six days is an adequate amount of time to try this case. Accordingly, the Parties request that the Court continue the trial setting and reset it at a time that allows for ten trial days,” Grande and the record companies informed the court.

Last week U.S. District Judge David Ezra granted the request. This means that the case will be postponed for several months, with the new trial taking place in September.

The extra time will also allow both parties to resolve some of their outstanding differences. Both sides submitted several motions to exclude information from the trial and they hope to narrow these requests in the coming months.

In addition, jury selection has also been postponed. This means that the record labels must wait a bit longer before they can ask potential trial jurors if they read TorrentFreak.

Drom: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also have an annual VPN review.

ISP Questions Rightscorp’s Credibility and Objectivity Ahead of Piracy Trial

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/isp-questions-rightscorps-credibility-and-objectivity-ahead-of-piracy-trial-200218/

A group of major record labels is running a legal campaign against Internet providers which they accuse of not doing enough to deter persistent copyright infringers.

This has already resulted in a massive windfall in their case against Cox, where a jury awarded a billion dollars in damages. In a few weeks, the music companies will be hoping for the same outcome following the trial against ISP Grande Communications.

Similar to the Cox case, the music companies – including Capitol Records, Warner Bros, and Sony Music – argue that the Internet provider willingly turned a blind eye to pirating customers. As such, it should be held accountable for copyright infringements allegedly committed by its users.

In preparation for the trial, both sides have submitted requests to keep information away from the jury members. These motions in limine, as they’re called, can be used to prevent misleading or prejudicial information from influencing the jury.

The record labels, for example, asked to exclude certain evidence regarding Rightcorp, the company that sent the anti-piracy notices to Grande. These notices are essential evidence in the case as Grande is accused of not properly responding to them.

Specifically, the music companies asked the court to exclude “irrelevant or unfairly prejudicial” evidence or arguments about Rightscorp’s business practices, the company’s finances, or the allegation that the anti-piracy firm destroyed evidence.

A few days ago Grande responded to this request. According to the ISP, it would be unfair to exclude these broad categories, especially because the information is directly relevant to the reliability of key witnesses.

As we have documented here in the past, Rightscorp’s financial situation isn’t very positive. It manages to survive with financial help from the record companies, a point not lost on Grande.

The ISP questions whether the music companies’ trial witnesses, Rightscorp’s Gregory and Boswell and Christopher Sabec, are still credible given the circumstances.

“In assessing the credibility of Mr. Boswell and Mr. Sabec, the jury should be permitted to consider not only Rightscorp’s financial relationship with Plaintiffs, but also evidence regarding Rightscorp’s dire financial condition,” Grande notes.

“In short, Rightscorp’s relationship with Plaintiffs is the only thing keeping Rightscorp’s business afloat, and the jury should know that when evaluating testimony from Mr. Boswell and Mr. Sabec regarding the reliability of the Rightscorp system and the evidence it generates.”

Grande concedes that Rightscorp technically has no direct financial interest in the outcome of the lawsuit. However, it notes that the company certainly has a strong interest in proving that its notices are reliable.

In addition to the financial situation, Grande also questions the ethical side of Rightcorp’s business practices.

The piracy tracking outfit made a name for itself by demanding settlements from hundreds of thousands of alleged pirates. This business model is one that the music companies were aware of and frowned upon, Grande argues

The ISP points to emails it obtained from the music companies through discovery which reference an article that describes Rightscorp’s call center script as “terrifying extortion.”

In addition, Grande points out an email from Sony where the music company notes that it wants to keep its distance from Rightscorp, describing it as “publishers using 3rd parties to milk consumers.” Despite these comments, its lawsuit now relies on evidence provided by the same company.

“Now, however, having purchased evidence from Rightscorp, Plaintiffs want to present Rightscorp’s notices as legitimate evidence of infringement and intend to argue that Rightscorp is a credible business with a reliable system,” Grande notes.

The ISP believes that the jury should know about Rightscorp’s financial situation and business practices, including the call center script. This should allow it to make a better assessment of the Rightscorp witnesses’ credibility.

The music companies disagree and, at the same time, submitted several responses to Grande’s requests to have information excluded from the trial.

For example, Grande asked the court to exclude evidence which shows that the company terminated customers for non-payment. However, the music companies argue that this information is crucial, as it shows that terminations were taking place.

“It is understandable that Grande wants to keep from the jury evidence that it terminated customers for non-payment. Such evidence completely eviscerates an argument Grande is likely to make: that because of the importance of internet access, termination of service is a drastic measure that should be used sparingly, if at all.”

The music companies feel that it’s important to highlight that terminations were not a problem when the ISP itself was affected.

“Moreover, evidence that Grande terminated customers when its property or services were being stolen, but refused to do so when others’ property was being stolen, is independently admissible as it is highly probative of Grande’s willfulness,” the music companies add.

It is now up to the court to decide on these and various other motions to determine what evidence can be discussed at trial. Later this month the jury will be selected. As reported earlier, the jury members will be first asked several selection questions, including whether they read TorrentFreak articles.

A copy of Grande’s response to the music companies’ motion in limine is available here (pdf), and the music companies’ opposition can be found here (pdf).

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Record Labels Will Ask Potential Piracy Trial Jurors if They Read TorrentFreak

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/record-labels-will-ask-potential-piracy-trial-jurors-if-they-read-torrentfreak-200202/

Some of the world’s largest music companies have taken several ISPs to court, accusing them of not doing enough to curb piracy.

This legal campaign, which is supported by the RIAA, resulted in a massive windfall for the copyright holders last month.

Following a two week trial, Cox was found guilty by a jury that awarded a billion dollars in damages. Soon after this win, the music companies shifted their focus to the next battle, the upcoming trial against ISP Grande Communications.

Similar to the Cox case, the music companies, including Capitol Records, Warner Bros, and Sony Music, argue that the Internet provider willingly turned a blind eye to pirating customers. As such, it should be held accountable for copyright infringements allegedly committed by its users.

Grande will start the trial at a severe disadvantage. The court previously granted summary judgment in favor of the record labels, ruling that the ISP will go to trial without a safe harbor defense. This means that it can be held secondarily liable for the pirating activity of its users.

This week both parties submitted their ‘voir dire’ questions for potential trial jurors. The jury consists of members of the public, but the legal teams from both sides are allowed to ask questions during the selection process, to ensure that jurors are unbiased.

The music companies, for example, will ask whether potential jurors or people close to them, ever worked for Grande Communications. That makes sense. The same is true for the question that asks whether they have any negative opinions of record labels.

While browsing through the 40 questions for the jurors, we also noticed that the labels are interested in anyone reading this article right now. Apparently, being a reader of TorrentFreak or Ars Technica is something prospective jurors must disclose.

“Have you ever read or visited Ars Technica or TorrentFreak?” question 33 reads.

What the labels plan to do with the answers remains a guess. We have covered these and other piracy liability lawsuits in great detail over the years. So, perhaps the labels want to pick our readers, many of whom are legal experts. On the other hand, our news selection and the associated knowledge may also be seen as bias.

Whatever the reason, we’ll take it as a compliment.

Reading through the rest of the questions we see more interesting mentions. The labels want to know whether the jurors have ever downloaded anything from torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay and RARBG, for example. In addition, they are asked whether they support the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) or if they ever worked for a technology company.

What also stands out is the question that asks prospective jurors if they believe there are “too many frivolous lawsuits nowadays,” while asking the candidates to give examples.

The record labels are not the only ones asking questions of course. Grande Communications has also prepared a list, hoping to signal bias or other disqualifying factors.

The ISP asks, for example, if the candidates have ever worked at a record label or in the music industry. The company also asks whether they believe it’s an ISP’s responsibility to monitor and police online piracy.

Grande doesn’t ask about TorrentFreak, but it does want to know whether the prospective jurors have ever heard of BitTorrent.

The jury selection for the upcoming trial is scheduled to take place on February 24th and the trial will start a day later. In the coming weeks, both parties will work on their final preparations.

The record label’s questions are available here (pdf) and Grande Communication’s questions can be found here (pdf).

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

Rosie the Countdown champion

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/rosie-the-countdown-champion/

Beating the contestants at Countdown: is it cheating if you happen to know every word in the English dictionary?

Rosie plays Countdown

Allow your robots to join in the fun this Christmas with a round of Channel 4’s Countdown. https://www.rosietheredrobot.com/2017/12/tea-minus-30.html

Rosie the Red Robot

First, a little bit of backstory. Challenged by his eldest daughter to build a robot, technology-loving Alan got to work building Rosie.

I became (unusually) determined. I wanted to show her what can be done… and the how can be learnt later. After all, there is nothing more exciting and encouraging than seeing technology come alive. Move. Groove. Quite literally.

Originally, Rosie had a Raspberry Pi 3 brain controlling ultrasonic sensors and motors via Python. From there, she has evolved into something much grander, and Alan has documented her upgrades on the Rosie the Red Robot blog. Using GPS trackers and a Raspberry Pi camera module, she became Rosie Patrol, a rolling, walking, interactive bot; then, with further upgrades, the Tea Minus 30 project came to be. Which brings us back to Countdown.

T(ea) minus 30

In case it hasn’t been a big part of your life up until now, Countdown is one of the longest running televisions shows in history, and occupies a special place in British culture. Contestants take turns to fill a board with nine randomly selected vowels and consonants, before battling the Countdown clock to find the longest word they can in the space of 30 seconds.

The Countdown Clock

I’ve had quite a few requests to show just the Countdown clock for use in school activities/own games etc., so here it is! Enjoy! It’s a brand new version too, using the 2010 Office package.

There’s a numbers round involving arithmetic, too – but for now, we’re going to focus on letters and words, because that’s where Rosie’s skills shine.

Using an online resource, Alan created a dataset of the ten thousand most common English words.

Rosie the Red Robot Raspberry Pi

Many words, listed in order of common-ness. Alan wrote a Python script to order them alphabetically and by length

Next, Alan wrote a Python script to select nine letters at random, then search the word list to find all the words that could be spelled using only these letters. He used the randint function to select letters from a pre-loaded alphabet, and introduced a requirement to include at least two vowels among the nine letters.

Rosie the Red Robot Raspberry Pi

Words that match the available letters are displayed on the screen.

Rosie the Red Robot Raspberry Pi

Putting it all together

With the basic game-play working, it was time to bring the project to life. For this, Alan used Rosie’s camera module, along with optical character recognition (OCR) and text-to-speech capabilities.

Rosie the Red Robot Raspberry Pi

Alan writes, “Here’s a very amateurish drawing to brainstorm our idea. Let’s call it a design as it makes it sound like we know what we’re doing.”

Alan’s script has Rosie take a photo of the TV screen during the Countdown letters round, then perform OCR using the Google Cloud Vision API to detect the nine letters contestants have to work with. Next, Rosie runs Alan’s code to check the letters against the ten-thousand-word dataset, converts text to speech with Python gTTS, and finally speaks her highest-scoring word via omxplayer.

You can follow the adventures of Rosie the Red Robot on her blog, or follow her on Twitter. And if you’d like to build your own Rosie, Alan has provided code and tutorials for his projects too. Thanks, Alan!

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