LokiTorrent, MPAA saga: Part III

By Jon Newton 2/27/05

Did LokiTorrent admin Edward Webber aka Lowkee fall?

Or was he pushed?

And what happened to the money – probably around $40,000 – collected during the site’s legal defense campaign?


Jon Newton

Significant elements of the p2p community at large are convinced Webber is a con artist on the grand scale; someone who fleeced not only the people who were using the LokiTorrent BitTorent site, but also the major movie studios in the shape of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America).

As one p2pnet comment post says, “He suckered the MPAA & ‘the people.’ That's hard to do.”

We thought he’d been nailed but were universally slagged for this view. And the slagging included a couple of emails – anonymous, as usual - suggesting we'd accepted some of the 40K to say he was more a victim than a rip-off artist.

However, CASE CLOSED, says document 3:04-CV-2642-N dated February 16, 2005 and signed by US District Judge David C. Godbey.

And under TRIAL HELD – No.

It refers to a case in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, with Columbia Pictures, Disney, MGM, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner on one end, and one Edward Webber on the other.

Bottom line, Webber agreed to pay damages of “One Million Dollars ($1,000,000)” to the Big Seven studio cartel and promised that he, and anyone acting with him, won’t directly or indirectly “contributorily, or vicariously” infringe in any manner any copyright “in any and all motion pictures, television programs or copyrighted works (or portions thereof)" now or in the future.

Webber also transfered, “Including without limitation any purchases, representatives, assigns, licensees, transferees of any software, code or other technology owned or controlled” and “all those acting in concert” with him, “at his direction or within his control (collectively ‘Webber’)” to the Big Seven.

Which explains how the studios were able to use the LokiTorrent sites - except MuffTorrent, that is - as movie industry propaganda boards.

And Webber says he’ll disable computer servers and websites that make up LokiTorrent, TorrentStop and MuffTorrent, operated by him as part of the "BitTorrent network"

He also promises to never again get into any p2p or p2p-related activity that has anything to do with Big Seven product.

And ------- “Defendant shall promptly turn over to Plaintiffs copies of all data, logs and information on all computer servers that were used in connection with the Webber BitTorrent System.”

There’s more, and you can download a copy of the case document here.

There you have it.

Or do you?

The 'fight for your rights'

MuffTorrent is specifically named as one of the sites in the one-time Webber empire that was to be disabled.

Yet the page is up again, although it’s no longer a BitTorrent site.

Under ‘Donations’ it says:

Muff Torrent has lost the fight for your rights to freely share on the internet.

All donations to this point have been spent on legal fees. Any future donations will be spent paying off remaining bills.

NO donation money to date (legal or otherwise) has been spent on personal expenses (for those who were recently wondering).

Any future donations will be spent on development of future sites by our staff (we are currently working on a web-based MMORPG, a website stats tracking site and a PHP code sharing site).

Thank you for your undying support over the past year. We will miss having you here as much as you will miss being here.

Best wishes,
The Muff Torrent Staff”

Future donations?

Will you be handing any further money over?

In the meanwhile, as we've said before, Webber was probably in the same the same position as anyone else who's attacked by the multi-billion-dollar entertainment industry. That's to say, Where would you find the money to go up against them?

But how much advance warning did he have that he was under their guns? And did the fact he's agreed to pay one million big ones to the studios have anything to do with the fact he had LokiTorrent up for sale?

It all looked genuine, but Lowkee said it was just a fishing expedition.

!!Revision: - 9:10 am Pacific!!

“My bet is that he listed the site for sale at auction to get a net worth - then accepted 1 million plus 40k for the site, then paid 1 million back to the MPAA as 'settlement fees' - all on paper only mind you,” says a Readers’ Write below. “And getting to keep his extra 40k warchest.

“Meaning he is 40-80k up on the transaction - 40k from donations, 0-40k from the MPAA as an out of court agreement and the million cancels itself out. I’ve yet to see anyone quote a judge handing down such an extreme sentence of 1 million at such short notice on a filesharing case, please correct me if I’m wrong.

“The MPAA will be able to do some fancy accounting with their tax return if they lodge 1 million in expenses acquiring this company and make a nice return from the US government, when in reality they paid nothing in physical cash for it.

“This would also allow them to control the sites in question and as a result we would see the puerile messages we are seeing at http://lokitorrent.com now.

“Damn, dirty, dealings....”

Stay tuned.

(Thanks to Craig Wilson and CT

 


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