I was reading a computer security article today and I started to see “Trolls” hiding behind the article. No I wasn’t overdosing on Red Bull. The TechRepublic article was titled, “Why isn’t everyone hacked every day?” (By Michael Kassner, 3 Oct 2011, http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/security/why-isnt-everyone-hacked-every-day/6633) and concerned what motivates malicious computer/network attackers and why we do not see so many hacking incidents overall.
The following paragraph from the article really caught my attention:
Stealing is like any other economic activity. Things have to succeed on average, not just when circumstances are favorable. Meaning, the attacker pays a price for every attempt, but gets a return only when the attack succeeds. If each attempt costs $1, but succeeds only 0.1% of the time, then each success with have to bring in $1000 just to break even. Attacks that have low success rates can have challenging economics.
Are you starting to see the Troll??? The article goes on to mention the old adage, “Think like an attacker;” (replace attacker with “Troll”) and how you have to go past this to determine what does the attack cost (each time) and how often can it succeed.
The final thoughts in the article were also good:
I guess we should consider ourselves fortunate. Most Internet bad guys are all about turning a profit. If other motives were involved, I think we’d be in trouble.
Just replace “Internet bad guys” with “Copyright Trolls.” I know this doesn’t seem very comforting to those of us who are dealing with these bozos. It does highlight that profit motivates the Troll the same as other criminals. The goal of the Troll is to make a profit when averaged over the mass population or target group.
The only way the Copyright Trolls are going to go away is when their scheme is no longer profitable. The Trolls know this and have adjusted their tactics accordingly. First we had large mass cases (1000+ Does), improper jurisdictions, and multiple “works” listed on each case. After the Does started to fight back, the Trolls went to smaller cases, Geo-locating Doe IP addresses to proper courts, and single works per case.
We need everyone’s effort to continue to make this an unprofitable endeavor for the Trolls. Everyone has different skills, so use them to your advantage. Here are some ideas to consider:
1. File motions – Quash/Dismiss, etc. And don’t just “file & forget.” Fighting your motions cost them time and money. Also remember that Plaintiff has 120 days from the filing to serve the Doe. If it goes past 120 days, the Doe or the Court can make a motion to dismiss. Yes they can refile, but it costs them more money – reduce the profit margin!
2. Help others draft or edit motions.
3. Get the word out to people who don’t know what a Copyright Troll is. Contact your local news paper and tell them what is going on in your area.
4. Pick one case other than your own and review what the Trolls have done, as well as what the Does and Doe lawyers are doing. If you notice something that works in one case, please pass it along to the rest of us.
5. Review articles and reports concerning BitTorrent and anything else the Trolls are using in their efforts. You may come across facts that do not support the claims the Trolls make to the court. Add it to the motion templates and pass it along to the rest of us.
6. Lastly, take care of yourself and your family (even if it is just a dog).