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Re: ATTN: for-profit Tor operators

Thus spake Anthony DiPierro (or@xxxxxxxxx):

> On 11/25/05, Mike Perry <mikepery@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > Thus spake Matt Ghali (matt@xxxxxxxxx):
> > 3. Sponsoring Tor is not possible when doing test cases
> >
> > This is the most likely scenario, IMHO. IANAL, but I would guess that
> > sponsoring Tor opens up the EFF to greater legal liability when
> > attempting to defend operators in test cases. After all, the decision
> > to take up a DMCA test case was made about a month ago, right around
> > the time funding supposedly ran out. For this reason I believe it is
> > most likely that funding was terminated so that the EFF would be
> > better able to help Tor operators. But I'm a chronic optimist.
> >
> Actually I would say if anything the opposite is true.  By being an
> operator itself, the EFF has standing to be involved in the cases
> themselves, rather than simply providing free legal support to someone
> else.  Then again, I suppose the EFF could argue that it *was* an
> operator, and that it wants to continue being an operator after the
> legal issues are settled.

Well, being a single operator is different than funding the entire
project. I would guess EFF's ideal case would be some blockhead
issuing a DMCA takedown against a Tor node and filing suit against
that node operator, rather than all node operators.. But if the EFF
were funding development, maybe the copyright holder could argue they
have some responsibility also, and they have incentive to do so since
the EFF has deeper pockets than joe random Tor node...

Though this still may be unlikely. Perhaps they just ran out of $
unexpectedly.. This also seems strange though.

> All that said, I'm not sure there is much threat by copyright law
> (including the DMCA) in being a Tor operator.  About the only time I

Yeah, this is probably true. I think this is why the EFF is so sure it
could win a DMCA case. But I agree it would probably be very unlikely
that a DMCA notice against a Tor node would ever make it to court, esp
since the supplied EFF letter to ISPs is already pretty close to a
DMCA put-back notice

> could see it coming into play is if you're supporting a hidden service
> which has copyright infringments on it.  Then, if you've registered as
> an ISP under the DMCA, you might have to disable access to that hidden
> service (assuming this is possible - I figure it must be possible to
> at least disable it for whoever is doing the DNS resolution).  If
> you're not registered as an ISP under the DMCA, well, then you don't
> get the protections of the DMCA.  The CDA might still kick in, but
> it'd probably be a good idea to register under the DMCA anyway.

Your points about registering as a service provider are very
interesting. Is this a common practice of Tor operators? Is it even
possible? http://www.copyright.gov/onlinesp/ is nearly unreadable
bureaucrat-ese, and it seems like they still haven't set up the red
tape for a proper process yet, referring to this "interim" nonsense..

Also registering with the government for anything like this rubs me
the wrong way on principle, since I do not agree with the DMCA in the
first place. Registering seems to be a second-order endorsement of it
somehow.. Not to mention my belief that a "service provider" should be
a legal definition in the DMCA itself rather than some tangle of red
tape and "official iterim" database lists..

Lasly, if I am registered as a service provider, presumably I would
get complaints and takedown notices directly. Who do I deliver them
to? They would basically just have to go in the trash. I guess this
might be your point, but it just seems so insanely pointless and more
likely to irritate someone who is accustomed to being handled by the
bureaucracy for a bit before being ignored :)

Mike Perry
Mad Computer Scientist
fscked.org evil labs