Placing advertisements and donating cash to candidates, though, is a far cry from waging a user-funded lawsuit against the entertainment industry. And while the MPAA surely didn’t expect this when it launched its campaign, with its deep pockets, it can likely withstand any number of sites that try to tap into the user base in the same manner as Loki.
“We’ve been working on the BitTorrent issue for so long that not much surprises me,” says Garfield. “But I’m a bit surprised that people are giving their hard earned money to something that facilitates piracy.
Ironically, one person who comes down on the MPAA’s side in the Loki case is Bram Cohen, the creator of BitTorrent.
“Fighting that one is stupid,” he wrote in an email interview. “They’ll lose. If you’re engaged in flagrant piracy, you should (1) not do that, (2) stop doing that (3) if you keep doing it, shut everything down and disappear as soon as you get a takedown notice, and (4) if you don’t do that, settle for as little as possible as quickly as you can.”
Webb has made his decision to fight the MPAA and now that users have sent him money, he’s honor-bound to fight.
Of course, if a proposal floated Thursday by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) finds Congressional friends, it may soon be the Internet Service Providers – not the MPAA – issuing cease and desists.
The BSA wants the “safe harbor” clause, which precludes ISPs and phone companies from monitoring what users are doing on their networks, eliminated from the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The proposal faces a huge uphill battle, since mandating the ISPs monitor Internet traffic would likely also force telephone companies and email providers to monitor what’s said and written across their networks.
No matter who Webb is squaring off against in court, he’s already started talking like a man girding himself for a huge battle.
“If the MPAA does not realize the absurdity of their accusation and drop the suit before trial, we completely intend on contesting this lawsuit and countersuing for damages, including their copyright infringement of our material,” he said in an email exchange. “The only settlement we see in the future is the MPAA dropping their self-serving and baseless case.”