Suing Filesharers Feels “like Terrorism’


A lawyer who has worked cases against peer-to-peer filesharers accused of infringing Viacom copyrights has admitted to a group of law students that the process “felt like terrorism.”

According to ArsTechnica Viacom general counsel, Michael Fricklas, had some very choice words indeed about just how it feels to be in the opposite position to the one in which many internet users fear they might one day end up. During his speech to students at Yale, Fricklas described the process of pursuing internet users accused of piracy as “expensive, and it’s painful, and it feels like bullying.”

What is perhaps most interesting is what the man himself had to say about the way in which content tends to be controlled, saying that it was important to treat customers with respect. He points out that digital rights management (DRM) has a pretty poor reputation, not least because of the fact that some of the uses we’ve seen it put to have been pretty egregious.

It’s certainly interesting to see the copyright argument from the opposite side of the spectrum, particularly when his views are so very much in line with what the average media consumer might think about his position.

Still, as long as Viacom is paying the bills it seems as though people like Fricklas will remain very much engaged in the business of pursuing individuals that companies like Viacom believe have infringed on copyrights. Nice to see there’s a human being underneath it all, even if it is “terrorism.”

Anyone with any interest at all in the whole copyright infringement/piracy business should definitely check out the ArsTechnica piece where they they had a chance to talk to Michael Friklas, it’s very enlightening altogether.


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