Linux torrents get a mention in landmark court case

AFACT v iiNet case continues

The Federal Court of Australia has heard how peer-to-peer software, BitTorrent, is used to distribute Linux-based operating systems.

Downloading GNU Linux software was cited as one of the legal uses of BitTorrent during the landmark court case between internet service provider, iiNet, and the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).

iiNet CEO, Michael Malone, took the stand for his third successive day of cross examination in the civil case. AFACT barrister, Tony Bannon SC, questioned Malone about the amount of BitTorrent traffic Linux downloads were likely to account for.

“Yesterday you made reference to GNU Linux software as being a large file,” Bannon said. “You indicated GNU Linux was an operating system a la Macintosh or Windows and, as such, likely to be downloaded, if at all, once by the person who uses it.”

Malone replied that updates to the operating system were regular, but he did not provide details on the amount of traffic they accounted for.

Torrent download is one of the main distribution methods for Linux and other open source software. Sites such as Linux tracker list available torrents.

Malone was questioned about the information provided to customers by the iiNet’s customer service team regarding the use of BitTorrent. He confirmed that the ISP does not support third party applications, but rejected suggestions the “relatively young” young customer service team are “the sort of people you would expect to be familiar with the processes for downloading via BitTorrent”.

“I don’t expect that every young person in Australia is downloading illegally using BitTorrent,” he said.

Tags Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT)copyrightAFACT v iiNetcourt case

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23 Comments

Anonymous

1

The AFACT Barrister shows his incredible lack of knowledge of the internet and BitTorrent, its like saying roads are the reason people break the speed limit so its the roads faults!

Seriously it is getting too stupid! The only reason they are going after iinet is their legal resource are less than Telstra or Optus!

Michael (Not Malone)

2

Is Bannon trying to suggest that downloading Linux is Illegal? Surely he can't be that ignorant or ...

Anonymous

3

A carrier service should not be responsible for the traffic. That reasoning would mean telstra or optus or whichever telephone company would be liable if terrorists hatched a plot by telephone. Crazy. What's next? Suing the person who came up with the idea of torrents? This is thought policing at its finest.

Anonymous

4

So is Australia Post liable if people send pirated movies in the mail?

Anonymous

5

Things people do for money....

Anonymous

6

What I want to know is if this case is successful, will it be a precedent so that I can sue the government, council, road makers and vehicle manufacturers if I'm hit by a drunk driver because they all could have prevented the crime?

Anonymous

7

The government goes some way to addressing drunk drivers - random breath testing, education etc. I doubt they could be successfully sued on the grounds of negligence.

mattsyd

8

Yeah why not sue Optus or Telstra first .. they are the largest ISPs in Australia .. this is all about money and not about copyright .. theres got to be a better solution to this than banning torrents.. i mean look itunes is making movies easy to download now

Anonymous

9

Come on AFACT, argue that using third party torrent software is illegal - this will ensure that your swiss cheese case will not only go off but add to your food poisoning worries of becoming outlawed as various legitimate corporations using this technology will pursue your arse's for the damages caused their business profits!

Anonymous

10

Linux ISOs - the distro I use releases updates every six months. While it is possible to use the internal update manager to upgrade distros, I find that, like with windows, you do often get better results by just doing a fresh install of the new version. There are also pre-release betas that some people (myself included) like to try out - each being another CD image. Add to that the fact that technical users like myself and just about everyone else using linux sometimes like to download and try out another distibution that they have heard about and the idea of linux users only ever downloading one ISO is rendered pretty much DOA.

Ever heard of world of warcraft? Care to guess what distribution mechanism it uses to push out updates to users? As it is the only online game I play I can't really comment on how many other games use bittorrent for updates, but I would be VERY suprised to hear that WOW is the only one.

Independant music producers also like bittorrent as a way of spreading their music according to http://www.jamendo.com/en/ . No suprise really, that acts that don't have the pull yet to attract a record label deal (or don't want one) want to use a distribution medium that shares around the bandwidth costs between the original poster and those downloading it.

The technology is not without many legal uses, and is an integral part of a number of companies' business models. Deal with.

mcangeli

11

I don't think he's trying to suggest that downloading linux is illegal. He just doesn't seem to have a grasp on the idea that linux users may reinstall their OS 4 times in a given week...

Anonymous

12

The quote that prompted my comment was “You indicated GNU Linux was an operating system a la Macintosh or Windows and, as such, likely to be downloaded, if at all, once by the person who uses it.” - four times in a given week is kinda nuts, although last week I did do a fresh install of the new version of ubuntu (9.10) on my desktop and laptop and also grabbed an openSUSE image to try out in virtualbox, so I guess thats three :)

Anonymous

13

Oh, and a LFS (linux from scratch) kit - although I haven't done anything with that yet - so I guess four isn't over the top lol

mcangeli

14

And there are people that download way more then that... ;)

I can share some of the stats from Linuxtracker.org with you if you'd like... ;)

Gangus

15

I can give a personal response to the issue of downloading Linux .iso files. I've downloaded many different distros to try out, and usually get the 32 and 64 bit versions of each distro as they are released. I'd say all up that I've downloaded linux well in excess of 75 times. That is, of course, a conservative figure, because I don't want to inflate the numbers. I'd probably say it's in excess of 100 times, but I'm giving 75 so as to not risk being excessive.

Anonymous

16

I do not back AFACT in this case but I have to point out the error in logic many people are making. It is NOT like suing the government for providing the road that a drunk driver uses. It IS like suing the government because you reported a drunk driver to the government and the government says, it's not our responsibility to police how people use our roads.

Anonymous

17

No it is not, it is like contacting the government about a driver who's muffler is too loud, and the government fobbing the problem off onto the Toll road operator. All this over a background of Muffler sellers lobbying to pass laws making it illegal to modify mufflers except through their own ridiculously expensive muffler shops.

Anonymous

18

Using your analogy what's happening is 3rd parties are claiming that there was an instance of drunk driving at a time and place in the past. The police were not there, and there is no way for the police to know if that 3rd party is lying or not. What do you want the police to do, hand him over to that 3rd party with no accountable proof?

Ja

19

@ mcangeli "I don't think he's trying to suggest that downloading linux is illegal. He just doesn't seem to have a grasp on the idea that linux users may reinstall their OS 4 times in a given week..."
lol! I was guilty of that last week, although two of those was installing on a virtual machine :)

Anonymous

20

I have in the last year downloaded on linuxtracker.org 5 gig and up loaded 8 plus over 10 gigs from the SXSW festival site(worth a look for legal mp3s) and probably 10 more from legal distribution of music by bands.
None of this in breach of the copyright holders wishes I also am downloading as I write a 1940s cartoon by http from internetarchive.org also legal.
All torrents do is lighten the load on a server at the other end
banning them will not stop file transfers because that's all the Internet is!
The problem here is the loss of our freedoms and the presumption of innocence to pander to the corporate interests who are rapidly coming to be our masters
It used to be any thing which is not illegal is permitted now the corporates are pushing the line that only that which profits them or or does not have the potential to affect their profits in a negative way can be permitted
Fascism in other words.
As an example supervised urine samples at work for legal and illegal drug use prevalent in construction rapidly coming to your workplace.

Jonathan Dugan

21

Open licensed media distribution.

We've run a service for 6 years to host and distribute open licensed media:

http://www.legaltorrents.com

Ruedii

22

The most common reason people download various Linux distributions is that many Linux users are infamous "tinkerers."

Linux "gurus," as they are called, sometimes have several PCs or one loaded with a virtualization system. This way they can try out hundreds of different "distributions" or "distros" which are essentially different compilations of the programs in Linux, each with their own characteristics, that are distributed in an easy to install bundle.

By trying out a large number of distros you become more experienced, and you learn more about different ways to modify the behavior of each individual component.

This gained information can be quite useful when knowing what to recommend in an OEM installation for corporate use. (After all, unlike Windows or OS X, Linux is not one size fits all. It is instead designed to be fully scalable.)

HarrisFM

23

I download at least 10-20 gig of linux iso,s a week.
As far as im concerned i am not breaking any laws and people need to realize that torrents arnt always illegal,its the best and fastest way of downloading a new version of Linux...
Darren UK

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