MediaFarce - ever alert! (dummmm da dum dum)

By Jon Newton 10/23/02

MediaFarce, the self-appointed, remora-like movie industry p2p cop which at the beginning of October singled out a Canadian Grokster fan for its attentions, is at it again, this time targetting Erik DeSart, a US KaZaA / FastTrack user.

The company, which spotted a golden opportunity to cash in on the movie industry's fear and loathing of p2p and hooked Warner Bros as a client, uses a school-project quality app called mediaSentry to trawl the Net looking for 'illegal' file sharers. When it finds one, it shows the p2p app and sharers' IP addies, owners are Whois-ed and MediaFarce contacts the ISP or block owner involved.


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It'll come as no surprise that the company - headquartered in New York - also proudly boasts that it's the owner of MediaDecoy, a "service" which is "tightly integrated" with mediaSentry and which among other things, overwhelms "trading communities" with "non-working versions of your copyrighted material".

Yep. Them's the ones.

In the meanwhile, AT&T WorldNet Services in Crawford, New Jersey, is Erik's isp and Erik had an email from Felicity (nice name : ) at the AT&T Broadband Legal Demands Center. Attached was a letter headed up:

* * * IMMEDIATE ACTION and REPLY REQUIRED * * *

Through it, Mark Weaver, MediaFarce's Director of Enforcement had contacted AT&T, "on behalf of Warner Bros., a division of Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P. ('Warner Bros.')" with thinly veiled instructions on how to deal with Erik's alleged downloading of Blood Work - the same movie mentioned in the Canadian case.

This of course begs the question: Is Warner using Blood Work to to get the ball rolling for what will become a mass attack on downloaders at large? Only The Shadow knows.

Be that as it may, Herr Weaver said: "We have received information that an individual has utilized the above-referenced IP address at the noted date and time to offer downloads of the above-mentioned work through a 'peer-to-peer' service." He continued: "Since you own this IP address, we request that you immediately do the following:

"1) Disable access to the individual who has engaged in the conduct described above; and 2) Terminate any and all accounts that this individual has through you."

It seems as MediaFarce Director of Enforcement, Mark has THA POWAH! Or thinks he does. Does he also have a nice shiny badge?

Anyway, he also included "Infringement Detail" namely:
Infringing Work: Blood Work
Filename: [tmd]blood.work.(ftf).ts.(2of2).avi
First Found: 27 Sep 2002 01:24:52 (GMT -0400)
Last Found: 6 Oct 2002 04:51:49 (GMT -0400)
Filesize: 107,032k
IP Address: 12.253.162.19
IP Port: 0
Network: KaZaA
Protocol: FastTrack
Username: aftonborr@KaZaA

Erik didn't have a lot of luck contacting abuse@attbi.com and was planning to give them a call. We'll let you know how that went as soon as we know.

He told p2pnet.net, "I've forwarded my original email to the EFF and I'm looking for other sites and organizations like yours to help me spread the word."

He added, "I've been active in online downloading since 300 baud modems and bbs's. This won't put me off. However I might change some of my habits. Like I'll go to Kazza lite and I will probably stop sharing brand new movies in their original form and name."

For now, emails from p2pnet.net to MediaFarce concerning the first incident involving the Canadian Grokster remain unanswered, as do emails to his isp, Sympatico.ca.

Jon Newton is the editor of p2pnet.net and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge to to explore it.


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