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Old 6th September 2010, 23:57   #1  |  Link
Doom9
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The rules explained

Dear members

This document is meant to give you a bit of an insight into our rules and the way they are being enforced.

For starters - nobody loves rules and walking around with a bit stick striking people down. When this place started out, there were neither rules nor moderators. That just came out of necessity - not everybody will follow implicit convenants. Imagine our society without rules and laws. You might still get along nicely with your neighbor. But the crackhead two blocks down might be another story..

1) Imagine you're at work, and 10 times a day you get unsolicited calls by people who aren't even your company's customers that take you away from your actual job. You'd get annoyed pretty soon. Now imagine the same happening at some place you volunteer - it's even worse, right? Or imagine you work in customer support, and you get an email like 'your product doesn't work'.. what are you supposed to do with it? You don't even know which product they're refering to.

See where I'm going with this? If information is written down and properly indexed, that information should be consulted first. That's why most support departments these days have FAQs, forums, and ask you to check those prior to contacting a company. And yes I realize that this first line of defense can be really annoying if you are an experienced user who knows more about the issue than the first level supporter.

Bottom line - it's an established fact that you can catch a considerable number of issues by following certain routines. In order not to waste anybody's time, we ask that you follow those routines. Remember, people who reply to your issues do so on their own time - they don't owe you anything, so as a sign of respect towards potential volunteers, invest a certain amount of effort on your part first.

2) Remember that time you moved to a new place, got invited to the first block party, started with a joke you thought was pretty funny and everybody just stared at you funny? Same story here... communities have unwritten rules, so get to know them before you rub people the wrong way.

5) That's an interesting one that is often misunderstood.

First off, this forum is about digital video. so what we discuss should touch upon that (also see forum rule 3). So no running shoes, no bags, no cars, etc.

When it comes to software, notice that Doom9 is and has always been about freeware (including but not exclusive to open source) products. However, we realize that this may not always be good enough, so discussion of certain commercial software is certainly also welcome. However, it's always a matter of how useful that commercial alternative really is - if it brings nothing to the table over established free solutions, we're probably not interested.

Now, have you seen the latest XYZ product which costs 50 bucks but you think is well worth its money. Or your company has just developed the latest and greatest video converter for the iPhone and you'd like to share?

There's a way to do that without running afoul of rule 5: You can use our news forum to post information about that product. We do however request that you clearly identify your affiliation with the software (e.g. "I'm an employee of the company that makes this product", or "I wrote this software"). Non disclosed affiliations are also considered a violation of rule 5.

Note that the news forum is moderated.. so it may be that your posts won't be approved. If you disagree with such a decision, you can contact me.

Once approved, the product can then also be discussed in other forums. However, we'll closely monitor such thread. You can't just pick up the topic and post a couple "have you seen product X in the news... great thing, eh?" messages all over the board? That again would be considered spam. If you have any affiliation with the product, you are required to only respond to questions by members without any affiliation.

And don't think we don't know about the old 'post so that my signature can be seen trick'.

Note that this is not all.. spammers develop new tricks on a daily basis so we certainly won't give them our rull back of tricks so they can develop workarounds..

6) And our all time favorite.

First off, this is not a warez forum so posts to the latest cracked software or torrents are clearly off limits. And that leaves us with the never ending story of downloaded content.

We fully realize the laws come down on different sides of this one. In some places, there's no law, then there are places where downloads are legit but uploads aren't, and finally those where everything is off limits.

So - for the download part: Plenty of sites have been closed for posting links to copyrighted content so we don't go there. Similarly, you also must not ask on how to get movie X or Y. You can buy it at Amazon, rent it from Netflix, but we won't help you provide it to you for free (unless there's a legitimate source).

Now what if you have already gotten the content from a P2P network or similar source. In principle, it's a matter between you and the copyright holder. Copyright infringement happens the moment you download. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Making a copy of an unauthorized source is often considered a separate act of infringement.. so if we help you make a copy, then we'd be helping you to break the law.

And, perhaps you've heard of the Hurt Locker people - they're currently starting lawsuits left and right against people who downloaded that movie. Now you come along asking for help on how to convert The.Hurt.Locker.720p.BluRay.x264-somegroup.mkv so that you can play it on your DVD player, portable media player, etc. What better than an open admission in a public forum that you've broken the law than a message asking for help with that file? Law enforcement has acted on people admitting to criminal activity online before.

So, please don't make your copyright infringement our problem. We don't want to be hit with subpoenas to give out member data every other week. Needless to say we need something to raise suspicion so we'll act. Nobody likes to spend time determining the legitimacy of a source - so you can help make our life easier by making it clear something doesn't smell iffy.

I have an MP4 file from the Internet is a clear indicator that something probably is off.
A file name that looks like file names used by release groups is a good indicator something is off, too.
I have this MKV file, with no other information and the member not being able to provide details on how the file was created reaises some suspicion, too.
Generally... 'off the Internet' has a tendency to raise eyebrows.

That's not to say the source could be perfectly legal. I've seen people using scene naming schemes for their own rips (so we'll try to google the entire file name to make sure.. but there are often different rips and we don't really know all the release groups)

There's also a lot of legitimate content on the Internet.. so be sure to mention anything that will discourage doubts about the legitimacy of a source. E.g. you could've bought an MP4 from iTunes. If the content is really available there.. problem solved.
Similarly.. MKV files. There's a popular Blu-ray disc ripper that creates MKV files. And various encoder GUIs, do, too. If you know the encoder build & settings for instance, that's a pretty good indicator that you're in the clear.

Bottom line.. don't let your source raise suspicious and everybody is happy. Moderators have more time dealing with other issues and won't have to worry about the provenance of a source and what it could mean if the source turns out to be illegal, and you won't be asked to provide an explanation or face thread closure.


Also - there's another reason for why how we prefer to help you deal with original content directly of the best possible source: Many people who just download and then expect to play it somehow seem unwilling to learn the ins and outs of digital video. This is not what this place is about though. We appreciate that you take the time to learn how things really work - so that in the end, you can create backups from your own legitimately purchased content.
Plus, starting at the best possible source also yields the best possible result (I realize the irony with regards to rule 12 We also hope that if you take the time to learn, you will pay back the community by then helping out other new members in need.

7) Screen estate is valuable, and not everybody has a 30" screen. So please accomodate us and post only what is necessary. By the same token, we are more interested in what is in your post, and not your signature.

9) The better your thread title describes what your post is about, the more likely you're going to get a qualified response. And it's unfair towards those that do make the effort to write a descriptive title if you come along with a 'I need help'. So please do us and yourself a favor and just don't do it.
Yes, we do have better things to do - but if the first page of threads suddeny looks like 'Help', 'Help please', 'I need help', and 'I need help more urgently', then it's a lot more effort to clean up that mess.

12) Another all time favorite. You probably haven't been around long enough to see nasty 'mine's better than yours' threads. Best is in the eye of the beholder so please leave it there.

Again, we do have better things to do, but cleaning up the next three flamewars because not everybody agrees what the best value for parameter X in encoder Y is, that's even more unwanted work, so please play along. Just ask something along the lines of "here's what I'm doing, can I improve upon that", and everything will be fine.

16) If you get pulled over by a cop, you follow his/her instructions, right? If you don't... worst thing that can happen is you get shot. If you got a beef, take it up with the guy's supervisor at the station. And it's the same thing here. I promise to have an open mind. Just ask any of the guys that had a whole suspension removed and their record wiped. Yes it does happen. It is important that you follow the appeals process (outlined in our FAQ) though.
Obviously, this rule is dangerous (though not really much more than the standard boilerplate legalese on every forum that says you have got no rights and the operators can do whatever they damn well please). Unfortunately, history shows that at times it is necessary (the alternative being just banning a member).

17) This thread is the best you're going to get in that department. People have asked in the past about the warez rule - I don't feel like going to give you the boilerplate of how we think a possible defense would look like if we ever get sued - I hope you can understand that. There's the DMCA analysis and that's that. Don't try to search for copyright law in various countries to try and figure out where I'm from.. I like to keep this on a need to know basis.

As far as the interpretation of rules goes.. with that document I hope you should have a pretty good idea. A version of the moderator rules will follow in a bit.
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Last edited by Doom9; 19th September 2010 at 19:59.
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Old 7th September 2010, 01:31   #2  |  Link
Sharktooth
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make this a sticky please.
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Old 7th September 2010, 05:11   #3  |  Link
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Оne question about rule 6. Helping with illegal stuff is bad, ok. But how to decide in which cases it is illegal or not?
Unfortunately I don't remember exact situation, but there was some cases when users having problem for example if he posted link to youtube video which was some kind of desktop capture where someone saw something that he thinks was illegal. However the user only wanted help with youtube video itself.
Anyway how to prove that the content is illegal? For me naming like The.Hurt.Locker.720p.BluRay.x264-somegroup.mkv is not good enough to say this file is illegal and until user will say by himself that this is downloaded content or something (which happens pretty often), IMO user should be able to get some help.
Oh yeah, and locking threads before user can say something is also bad idea. Mod is the one who should prove that something violates forum rules.

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Old 7th September 2010, 05:26   #4  |  Link
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i would imagine the more information about the source given in the initial post, the less suspicion is aroused.

for example, i work with "a file" all the time. it does irk me quite a lot when people insist that if it's not ripped from a disc it must be illegal, but then if i were to say "i have a QT ProRes file supplied by a client and blahblah is wrong with it", then it would be fair to assume i'm not doing anything illegal.
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Old 7th September 2010, 07:35   #5  |  Link
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Quote:
But how to decide in which cases it is illegal or not?
It is impossible to make an all encompassing list - it's really a case by case thing.

You shouldn't ask yourself what is illegal - the rule says illegitimate. Most people define illegal by their own country's laws. When we decide if something is off, we try to consider if something is suspicious. E.g. a member has a disk without IFO files. That's suspicious of having rented / loaned the disk. Or, "I have a file" raises eyebrows. Mug Funky has made an excellent point on how to avoid such suspicion.
You can also ask yourself.. does what I do constitute of fair use? If you legitimately acquire the content (and again I know in some countries it's okay to download off P2P.. but for this forum it is not unless we're talking content authorized for uncontrolled distribution..), and want to make your own personal copies - that sounds like fair use and that is okay.
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Old 7th September 2010, 08:18   #6  |  Link
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If I may add something to Rule 6, especially to the passage commented by doom9 himself about this rule.
Actually the copyright law has nothing to do with downloading or internet. It has to do with copy, logic. Copying a tape in the 80ies (assuming one doesn't own the rights) for a friend was also an infringement, irrespectiv whether it was given in hand, it was used a postal service or any other imaginable way of transmitting the physical object. Also only the "copier" was infringing the copyright, not the "recipient".

However, the digital era made possible not only a bit-perfect copy (the analog suffered from too many generations) but also could hugely benefit from the internet. So a hacker could actually target more people than in the analog era. So this created a panic among the content publishers (usually the authors were moderate, execpt those those revenues were tight related to publishers) and the law was amended in many countries to provide a special chapter for internet.

Examples: In DE it is legal to copy for your personal use only any CD/DVD/BD from the public library, provided there are no copy protected (some CDs, most DVDs and all BD are). There's also the right to backup your legally bought media (despite media publishers insist thet's only tolerated, no, it's the right). You can also copy your legally bought media to a maximum 7 very-close-to-you persons (family). In ES you can freely download and upload anything from/to a friend/relative. In the UK it is forbidden even to say the word RECORD, on the other hand.

While the copyright claims of most content publishers are over exagerated, it has to be addmitted that the opposite is also true, lots of files of various origins flow through the internet. I find it dangerous that people come here asking the typical question: How to rip Avatar the best and the fastest? (variations thereof), then going back to their fora and start posting torrents (I am positively that there are unofficial contests, who posts the most movies), that is probably more dangerous than people that ask how to convert a downloaded movie back into the original format. I said more dangerous. Why? Because, in the end, the "downloaders" will find it simpler and cheaper to buy the originals. Who spends nights and days reencoding a wrongly encoded movie just to end with a low quality copy, well, that's either masochism or stupidity (or even more aggravating: the lack of a social/family life). It's much simpler, cheaper and legal (depending on the jurisdiction) to buy the original and to make a copy for daily use.
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Old 7th September 2010, 16:02   #7  |  Link
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Weell... since the rule 6 was brought up, I thought I'd give my take on it.
As you said: "So, please don't make your copyright infringement our problem."
Thing is, of course you know some of the advices will go to people who are doing illegal things. Same if you were hosting, say, a big gun forum. Sooner or later some idiot will end up shoot something with the gun you helped maintain. It's just the nature of the beast.
What I don't agree with is that some people tend to see every "Ok, I have this file..." as a red flag. The "Where did you get that mkv from?" query before any advice/discussion has pretty much three end results:
1) It's legal (in some jurisdiction), which I hope, in which case the advice/discussion will just get delayed and people get annoyed.
2) It's illegal (in some jurisdiction), but the guy lies. See end of 1)
3) It's illegal (in some jurisdiction) and the guy admits it. This ends up turning a gray case into a black one and now there's some more actual semi-proof of illegal stuff is being discussed here.
The only two good things I can think of in the case 3 is: Firstly, if something is illegal in (your?) jurisdiction x, you get the moral points for not helping a criminal. Secondly, you might try to upkeep some kind of image of being very strict on illegal activities. Frankly, though, I doubt that will have any kind of effect in the slightly suspicious cases, even if you start/continue requiring proof of their legality. Most cases will still end up looking just as gray in the eyes of the copyright holders/lawyers, it will just weed out people who don't know how to ask.

All in all, I'm not even talking about legality here. It's just that I get frustrated every time I see someone harass a poster on the matter in a way that doesn't have anything whatsoever to do with any laws for reasons I can only interpret as either trolling or trying to taste the sweet nectar of Opress-The-Noob.
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Old 7th September 2010, 16:30   #8  |  Link
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But...this is not a "noob" forum. Though (as is to be expected) a lot of people find this forum and make their posts without reading the rules, just as they are not going to find this thread (or any other sticky) and make their mistakes.

There are smart people in the world; those who will enter a forum like this carefully, having read a number of posts (and possibly even the rules ) and wade carefully into the waters of doom9 and not get into trouble. Yet although I am one of these I, too, have been struck and I learned something from it.

Then there are the not-so-smart people who barge-in here and raise all sortsa hell and hopefully they're tromped-on (hard) and go away, never-to-be-heard-from-again. No great loss.

In-between, hopefully people learn that anything that even remotely smells of the possibility of copyright infringement are given the "our way or the highway" treatment, and either learn/respect the rules or go away, whether of their own volition or by being struck-or-banned.

IMO I'd much rather have "the bozos whacked" than have this valuable resource go-away by virtue of a lawsuit from one of those ugly companies that loves to issue lawsuits.
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Old 7th September 2010, 16:38   #9  |  Link
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Ok, the second intervention:

It doesn't matter whether the guys lies or not, the forum should ask for confirmation of legality in case of doubt. Remember, doom9 is probably the last forum (in the Western part) where the backup of CD/DVD/BD is still discussed. If we want to keep it this way, certain precautions must be taken.

If the gun dealer asks the customer whether s/he wants to shoot smb. and s/he lies, then, legally, the gun dealer is no longer responsible for his customer acts. It looks cheap but this is how the law works. One cannot simply outlaw the knives just because one out of ten million kills his mother-in-law with a knife.

EDIT: laserfan was quicker
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Old 7th September 2010, 16:58   #10  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuukunen View Post
What I don't agree with is that some people tend to see every "Ok, I have this file..." as a red flag. The "Where did you get that mkv from?" query before any advice/discussion has pretty much three end results:
Personally I do not ask about origin unless there is an indication that it could be copyrighted or illegitimately obtained content. For example:

"I have two MKV files. How do I join them?"

That would just go by without any comment.

But consider this one:

"I have two MKV movies. One is blurrier than the other. What can I do to make the blurry one clearer?"

That may prompt an inquiry because if the poster made them he could be expected to know how they were processed differently. I may ask what process he used to make them and if that process differed. Or I may just ask where he got them. It depends on the specifics of the case.

Or this:

"I have this MKV file Avatar.720P.MP3.BeStRiPpEr.mkv and I can't get it to play."

An inquiry would be in order and in obvious cases where it's a torrent name easily found on the internet, a presumption would be in order.

It's the poster that raises the red flags. If the source is legit a polite query should not be objected to, IMHO. If it's not legit, it shouldn't be discussed. Hiding the truth to enable discussion of such materials violates the spirit of our rules.

Finally, only mods should make these enquiries when needed. Normal users should simply report the post.

[Speaking for myself here and not Doom9 or any other mods.]

Last edited by Guest; 7th September 2010 at 18:08.
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Old 7th September 2010, 17:08   #11  |  Link
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The point is the gun and knife dealer won't ask the customers if they are gonna kill somebody.
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Old 7th September 2010, 17:12   #12  |  Link
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It's not a good analogy.

A bartender will assess the intoxication level of a patron before serving the patron, because he could be held liable if that patron causes a disaster after leaving the premises.

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Old 7th September 2010, 17:15   #13  |  Link
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You are right, police making drug tests would be another analogy.
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Old 7th September 2010, 17:20   #14  |  Link
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since this thread has very important info, i suggest to place a link to it in the forum rules page (here: http://forum.doom9.org/forum-rules.htm ).
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Old 7th September 2010, 17:43   #15  |  Link
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stax: More like a gun nut might help another gun nut without questioning what he's gonna do with the gun.

Or if we go with that other analogy, of course. My point was that if the patron is clearly intoxicated, something should be done about it.
But I don't think the bartender should go out of his way to hunt people down with a breathalyser if he sees someone stagger a bit on the other side of the bar.
Of course the police understand that intoxicated people will get even more intoxicated at bars. I don't even remember hearing about any bartender getting sued for it even though my brother works as one and I've seen some very extreme cases (That mostly have been thrown out).

Ok, this analogy went a bit far, but all I'm saying is that I don't see the point of harassing people for supposedly legal reasons when there are none. Your example of "I have two MKV movies. One is blurrier than the other. What can I do to make the blurry one clearer?" carries no legal significance in any direction. For all I know, he could've made two home movies with different cameras. Or maybe a more probable case of "backups from your own legitimately purchased content" and one of them was mastered poorly.

Seriously, even that "I have two MKV files. How do I join them?" has a very good chance of being something illegal. (And not just MKV, of course.)

"I have this MKV file Avatar.720P.MP3.BeStRiPpEr.mkv and I can't get it to play." Now that's of course a clear case of breaking the rules.
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Old 7th September 2010, 17:59   #16  |  Link
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Originally Posted by Kuukunen View Post
I don't see the point of harassing people for supposedly legal reasons when there are none.
1. I don't consider a polite inquiry to be harrassment, especially given that the user has agreed to follow the forum rules.

2. The purpose of the inquiry is to *establish* whether there are in fact any reasons for concern. It's a judgment call by the mod about whether the red flags raised by the poster justify any inquiry or other action. As I said, if the material is legit, then the poster should not object to a polite inquiry. A polite inquiry is not harrassment. As a beneficial side effect, the poster (and others) can learn from the interaction about how to present sufficient information so that the legitimacy of the material is clear. Finally, a history of such interactions can be useful if Doom9 is ever sued to show that we actively police against illegitimate activities (or to reassure potential litigants). Doom9 has a clean reputation regarding illegitimate activities; do you think that would be so if it was not actively policed?

[Speaking for myself here and not Doom9 or any other mods.]

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Old 7th September 2010, 18:06   #17  |  Link
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What I don't agree with is that some people tend to see every "Ok, I have this file..." as a red flag. The "Where did you get that mkv from?" query before any advice/discussion
Besides possible legal ramifications (who may be of no concern to you although who is to say really.. but normally they come after the owners), there's a very practical concern, too: It's about asking questions right. If I tell you my MKV was created with MakeMKV version X.Y from disc Z, and then I used program A and B with settings C to create the file I'm not talking about, you enable potential helpers to get to the point much quicker. Let's presume B is x264, revision I don't know what, and that revision has a known bug that causes some distorted pixels.. people who know about that bug could immediately tell you that you need to restart from the file MakeMKV spit out (or if you don't have that, restart at the source). It's a pretty universal thing that if you provide pertinent information, you'll get to the bottom of a problem quicker (so we have that as a rule... even our number one rule).

A few seconds reflection on how you word a question can ensure that nobody will ever bother you. Is that really too much to ask? Ask the guys frequenting German forums about the hoops local forums have to jump through to even discuss anything nowadays since getting your content off a disc involves something that they cannot talk about - is it really worth being able to openly admit you're pirating to risk the entire existence of this place? Maybe you think it makes no difference - but in order to get to you, they have to go through me so I'll get into trouble first. Is it fair to ask me to risk my own hide for something I do not believe in?

Quote:
Your example of "I have two MKV movies. One is blurrier than the other. What can I do to make the blurry one clearer?" carries no legal significance in any direction. For all I know, he could've made two home movies with different cameras. Or maybe a more probable case of "backups from your own legitimately purchased content" and one of them was mastered poorly.
In both cases, had the poster the explanation given in the first place, no red flags would be raised.
As part of my job, I do report a log of bugs to a number of manufacturers. And pretty much all the time I get a more competent answer and a speedier resolution if I do everything in my power to help the other party reproduce the issue. So, I provide as much information as possible upfront. If I'd submit a "your product doesn't work", they'd start asking me about licenses, using the proper tested hardware and following their installation procedure and it will take me a week just to get to the people I really want to talk to. And perhaps they also figure out that I'm running on unauthorized hardware (and even that is being done on their side too, support contract state certain requirements and they are within their rights to withold support if those requirements are not followed) and then my case is going nowhere.

You might probably heard of the OECD's black list of tax evasion heavens. Even if banks hoard untaxed money, they cannot be held liable. That is unless of course they actively help their customers with tax evasion. Some banks did that and they get into quite a bit of trouble for it. But if the bank doesn't know, then the only one that can get into trouble is the guy evading taxes. Nowadays, banks in those tax heavens are discussing whether they ought to ask their customers if the money they bring has been taxed in order to avoid potential liability.... Now replace bank with forum and tax evasion with dealing with pirated content... If multi billion dollar financial corporations suddenly - shouldn't the little guys without hundreds of $800 an hour lawyers on staff be careful, too?
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Old 7th September 2010, 18:16   #18  |  Link
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I'm retired, so don't have the time to read everything here like y'all seem to but the expression "zero tolerance" needs to be used around here more often. To the casual (un-knowledgeable) person the URL doom9.org conveys a rogueish image. I have even read postings elsewhere from folks who are worried about entering here as they think it is some sort of scary, illegal, hacker site (no, they don't know what a "hacker" is, either).

Point being that doom9.org needs instead to be known as the site where "zero tolerance" for all things "at the edges of legality and beyond" is the standard modus operandi. Maybe a name change should be considered, especially now that there is an ugly stepsister to be confused with!
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Old 7th September 2010, 19:30   #19  |  Link
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Ok, we seem to be mainly disagreeing on fine-tuning of two things: where the line goes for too suspicious and what is annoying/harassment. I don't think either of those disagreements are solvable, so I guess I shouldn't bother you much further. I'll just quickly sum up my points that were still missed:

* There already is a long history of both helping suspicious people and being strict on definite piracy. Hopefully it never comes to lawsuits against you, but if it does, there are so many of both I don't think anyone starts exactly counting them. (Nor do vague suspicions really hold in court anyway without further proof.)
* From the perspective of the companies, the forum is already very suspicious/notorious from cases like the AACS key and the general subject matter.
* Being polite is always good, but even though I myself have never been under suspicion, as Mug Funky put it, some cases have irked me, people I have talked with and from the "all time favorite" status, I would imagine many more. Not the fact that the question is raised, but the loss of the original subject and/or locked thread.
* I guess I'm pretty noob friendly, so bullying them annoys me.
* It's your site so if you're the one who would take the blame, especially with things like the legal matters, it's best the run it in the way that helps you sleep at night.
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Old 7th September 2010, 19:53   #20  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuukunen View Post
* I guess I'm pretty noob friendly, so bullying them annoys me.
Who is bullying noobs and how? Is expecting them to follow the rules they agreed to unreasonable?
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