Internet theft is probably the easiest kind of theft around. You’ll probably have a hard time stealing a gold watch (though people do that too), but stealing media is pretty much cake for tons of Internet users. Lawsuits, (about 220,000 of them) have tried to combat the ease at which one can download illegally by instilling in them the fear of getting caught.
In a new court ruling, New York Judge Gary Brown took that fear away from many piraters by declaring that an IP address isn’t sufficient evidence to accuse a person of pirating media.
Something like this is a reminder that, while people complain about all the dirt the internet has in their name, we’re still able to remain anonymous to some degree.
Of course a browser can say a lot about a person, which had me wondering whether agencies will start attempting to dig into that information as back up to IP address evidence. Anyone can use the internet from a single IP address, but most users either have unique accounts on shared computers or use one computer/laptop when they’re in that location.
This lawsuit may be a landmark for now, though I wonder where this will take us. As marketers, we’re able to find tons of information on internet users. What’s to stop a law enforcement agency from snooping a pirater’s history for suspicious activity? Will it ever get that far?