Entertainment Industry Really Really Really Wants To Believe Pirate Bay Verdict Is A Win

from the this-is-what-we-call-delusional dept

As was easily predicted when The Pirate Bay verdict came out last Friday, the entertainment industry celebrated it as a big win. Amusingly, Arts+Labs, one of many, many entertainment industry lobbying groups (and run by a guy, Mike McCurry, who thinks that Google doesn't pay a dime for its bandwidth), was quick to praise the decision, with McCurry claiming that this is a turning point and that people will now realize that file sharing is "something both dangerous, criminal, and unfair." (I'll let the grammar nazis figure out which two of three things he meant when he said "both").

I love these proclamations of turning points. Especially since there's absolutely nothing to support it. We've seen the entertainment industry shut down Napster, Aimster, Morpheus, Grokster, TorrentSpy, OiNK and others over the years, and none have been "turning points" in the direction the entertainment industry wanted. In every case, things actually went the other way. Every time they shut down one of these services, another one shows up to pick up the slack and turns out to be bigger and more popular than the previous ones. In the meantime, over in Sweden, the ruling had generated large protests and thousands rushing to sign up to be a member of The Pirate Party. If it's a "turning point" for anything, it seems to be the opposite of the what the industry wanted.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't think that most file sharing is legal or right (and I don't participate in any of it). But, millions of people who know that it's illegal have absolutely no problem taking part in it, and no "education" campaign or shutting down of a particular site or service is going to stop that. Continuing to pretend it will doesn't help the industry at all. What helps the industry is to stop denying that this is something that can be stopped legally, and finally moving on to experimenting with business models that work -- such as the business models that we've been describing here for over a decade. It's not that hard, no matter what entertainment industry lawyers (and it's always the lawyers) insist.


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  1.  
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    Evil Mike, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 7:36am

    Turning Points

    "it seems to be the opposite of the what the industry wanted."
    Exactly. The turning point in question: the population taking on better encryption and sharing methods, and file sharing being not at all slowed down.

     

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    Tor, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 7:37am

    Pirate Party member count

    The Pirate Party member count given in the TorrentFreak article is 20 000. However, things have changed since then and at the moment it is 32 417 with new members joining each minute. It's important to realize that the Pirate Party doesn't encourage law breaking, but rather strive to get political influence in order to introduce more well-balanced IP laws and an promote an open internet with the right to privacy and without broad surveilance and data retention.

     

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    :Lobo Santo, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 7:45am

    Re: Pirate Party member count

    I wish America had a Pirate Party...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 7:50am

    It's a public relations loss for the industry. Wish they'd wake up.

     

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    Arne,, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 7:51am

    In polls,

    Good take on things,

    In polls done in on-line news papers here in Sweden 70-80% ! thinks it was totally wrong conviction, it's a justice travesty and a clear marker that there is no problem to buy convictions in Sweden these days.

     

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    Amanda, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 7:51am

    Re:

    Not an anonymous coward, just a lazy one.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 7:54am

    Re: Pirate Party member count

    It is currently the 4th largest political party in Sweden, and it has more members then 3 different parties that have seats in the current Swedish parliament

     

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    Evil Mike, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 7:57am

    Re: In polls,

    So it was a PR victory? A sham? A fake?

    The movie studios bought a judge so they could shout to the world "If you're a pirate you'll pay $4 million and go to jail!"...?

    How very unsurprising.

     

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    Tor, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:07am

    Re: Re: Pirate Party member count

    yes, in terms of members - not votes. Even though they have a clear chance of getting representation in the EU parliament there's no direct correlation to the number of votes, especially not if you're thinking of the national election I would say.

     

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    Anotehr Ac, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:24am

    It would be nice...

    This is no victory it just further shows their ignorance.

    If these trade groups would understand that if they want to get paid for this crap, they need to make it easier than taking advantage these other "services" and at a reasonable price point. We have been screwed by this ridicuous pricing and access control for far too long, I really hope they figure this out soon.

     

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    SteveD, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:25am

    Listening to mainstream news coverage of the story in the UK I was pleased to hear quite how sceptical news reporters became when the industry PR reps tried to spin the story of the PB being a 'commercial operation'.

    One reporter even put forward the case quite firmly that this decision would change little, and it wasn't it really the industries business models that needed to change?

    That sort of reporting wouldn't have happened a few years ago. I think that even if this is a legal loss for piracy, it is a massive PR win.

     

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    R. Miles, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    What did you expect from these idiots?

    If it was such a "win", why is the site still up?

    If anything, it looks to me as though traffic has increased, not decreased.

    I'm also not surprised the number of donations has gone through the roof, either, based on the number of replies (around the web) of people who are contributing to the defense fund.

    What's truly insulting here is the entertainment industry continues to spread the message of "We're in control of plastic disks. You're going to buy them or do without as we'll offer no other means for you to enjoy content. In addition, people who rent from Netflix are pirates because we can't figure out why a $8/mo subscription doesn't make up the cost of a $20 DVD."

    What I can't figure out is how people continue supporting these distribution platforms.

    I guess they just don't want to do without.

     

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    Peter, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:27am

    Legal or Right?

    "I don't think that most file sharing is legal or right"

    What makes it wrong Mike? Obviously, the law isn't an ethical code - it would be absurd to suggest it is.

    What is wrong with sharing published works with others?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:28am

    What is laughable is this verdict made many more people aware about file sharing and it has raised awareness of alternatives to TPB. Many more people now know more about sharing technology, encrypted file transfers, and darknets. The only thing this ruling did was drive awareness that file sharing is available and that there are plenty of ways to mask your online activity.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:36am

    Re: Legal or Right?

    Mike has never supported breaking the laws. Yes, like it or not and how much you disagree with it downloading songs for free from people that do not want to give it for free is illegal you are breaking laws. Breaking laws are typically thought of as wrong.

    He has also never condoned copyright violations or ever said it was the right thing to do. Neither is he here to promote or romanticize breaking laws.

     

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    Peter, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:40am

    "Breaking laws are typically thought of as wrong"

    If a law is unjust, then breaking it is not wrong. If he wants to argue that it is a poor strategy, that's one thing - but he continually suggests that sharing published works is unethical. I'd like to hear him explain his reasoning as to why.

     

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    Osno, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:50am

    In my experience, you should never break the law. If a law is wrong, you must fight to change it (which is what Mike does, in a weird way), not break it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:58am

    It is getting tiresome to read your constant rants about your perception that somehow lawyers are "running the show". Decisions are made by their clients, with certainly in almost all instances their lawyers explaining both their legal rights and counseling in favor of restraint.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:58am

    Re:

    And then we look up the history of civil disobedience. This time we aren't just going against one stupid little law, we are going against what all these stupid little laws are adding up to.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Pirate Party member count

    Actually, there are really only two political parties in the United States.

    The people.

    The kleptocrats(Big Entertainment, Big Banks, Big Pharma and Big Oil).

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 20th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re: Pirate Party member count

     

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    John Duncan Yoyo, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 9:13am

    This is just another case of plaintiff inadvertently advertising for the other side. I wonder if they did more than 3 million dollars of damage to themselves.

     

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    Tim H, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 9:16am

    To me this is what demonstrates the extent to which the Entertainment industry is distanced from reality. We saw it time after time during the Pirates Bay case as they had to drop charge after charge as it became aparent that they didn't even bother to hire minds that understood the technology.

    It is my belief that it is the downloaders of copyrighted material who are the real 'villians' not those who simply 'index' the available files in the way that any search engine does.

    However that said, I also strongly believe that those very downloaders are the same members of the digital generation that are also legitately downloading legally, certainly in many cases. The real message should be that to discourage people from downloading illegally, legal downloads should be made more affordable. Why does a digital album on say iTunes cost the same as a physical one in the shops. If it is blamed on hosting and bandwidth costs then maybe the very business model of digital downloads just doesn't work yet?

    I think the entertainment industry could do far more good in re-evaluating their legal download costs and make them available to more people. They can win this battle and the next and even the one after but can they win the war when technology is one step ahead and people have a reason to demand free source?

     

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    ScytheNoire, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 9:54am

    MAFIAA is so densely stupid

    You would think that when millions of people are doing something, demanding their entertainment in a certain form, that the entertainment industry would learn to change and adapt, and do what has always happened, which is make even more money.

    With online downloading, they could target advertise better than ever, know EXACTLY how many viewers they have, and make more money than ever.

    Instead they keep fighting progress and technology, and it's a losing battle. They are so idiotically stupid, it's hard to believe that so many of them can't see the obviousness that is smacking them in the face.

     

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  25.  
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    bob, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 9:56am

    I saw it

    I watched the new Xmen movie, the one that was the pirate release of the working print.
    I now want to go see the movie at the theater to see the special FX that were not part of it.
    What's funny is that I would not normally have wanted to see the movie at the theater, but now I do.
    Odd, isn't it?

     

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    Not Mike, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 10:02am

    Re:

    It's wrong in the sense that the creators' wishes are being disregarded. If an artist like Reznor puts his stuff out there, downloading it and sharing it isn't wrong, nor illegal. If an artist like Amanda Palmer encourages her fans to share her work against the will of her lable, sharing her music is illegal but not 'wrong'. If an artist like McCartney doesn't want you to share his works, it's wrong to do so against his will, even if it were legal.

    Legal is not always the same as moral, and illegal isn't always the same as immoral.

     

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  27.  
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    mobiGeek, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 10:02am

    Re: Legal or Right?

    Violating a copyright holder's rights is not legal.

    Violating the wishes of an artist is wrong, even if those wishes are wrong-headed.

    Just because you can do something doesn't make it right.

    Just because YOU think it could benefit the artist, doesn't make doing it right.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Pirate Party member count

    I wish America had a Pirate Party...
    America does. It actually has a couple but the Pirates that these parties reflect are more of the murderous cutthroats and thieves variety.

     

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    LostSailor, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 10:11am

    Perhaps Not So Easy

    While I agree that calling the Pirate Bay verdict a "turning point" is silly, I take such an announcement for what it is: PR.

    But, once again, Mike, I must disagree with this: It's not that hard, no matter what entertainment industry lawyers (and it's always the lawyers) insist.

    I'm not an entertainment industry lawyer...or any other type of lawyer for that matter...and changing instantly or even quickly to the business models you champion is not quite as easy as you seem to think it is.

    Here's a rather longish (fair use) quote from a Slate article where the author would like to see just the new paradigm you advocate:

    So why won't anyone in Hollywood build my service? The reason isn't stupidity. When I called people in the industry this week, I found that many in the movie business understand that online distribution is the future of media. But everything in Hollywood is governed by a byzantine set of contractual relationships between many different kinds of companies—studios, distributors, cable channels, telecom companies, and others. The best way to understand it is to trace what you might call the life cycle of a Hollywood movie, as Starz network spokesman Eric Becker put it to me. We all understand the first couple of steps in this life cycle—first a movie hits theaters and then, a few months later, it comes out on DVD. Around the same time, it also comes out on pay-per-view, available on demand on cable systems, hotel rooms, airplanes, and other devices. Apple's rental store operates under these pay-per-view rules, most of which put a 24-hour limit on movies. The restriction might have made sense back in the days when most people were getting on-demand movies in hotel rooms and the studios didn't want the next night's guest piggybacking on rentals. It doesn't make much sense when you're getting the movie on your MacBook. But many of the contracts were written years ago, and they don't reflect the current technology.

    A movie will stay in the pay-per-view market for just a few months; after that, it goes to the premium channels, which get a 15- to 18-month exclusive window in which to show the film. That's why you can't get older titles through Apple's rental plan—once a movie goes to HBO, Apple loses the right to rent it. (Apple has a much wider range of titles available for sale at $15 each; for-sale movies fall under completely different contracts with studios.) Between them, Starz and HBO have contracts to broadcast about 80 percent of major-studio movies made in America today. Their rights extend for seven years or more. After a movie is broadcast on Starz, it makes a tour of ad-supported networks (like USA, TNT, or one of the big-three broadcast networks) and then goes back to Starz for a second run. Only after that—about a decade after the movie came out in theaters—does it enter its "library" phase, the period when companies like Netflix are allowed to license it for streaming. For most Hollywood releases, then, Netflix essentially gets last dibs on a movie, which explains why many of its films are so stale.

    Couldn't the studios just sign new deals that would give them the right to build an online service? Well, maybe—but their current deals are worth billions, and a new plan would mean sacrificing certain profits for an uncertain future. Understandably, many are unwilling to take that leap.


    Experimentation is good, and I support it. But completely changing a multi-billion dollar industry, one with long-standing contracts, not only with distribution channels, but also with a variety of unions whose members compensation is tied to revenues from distribution, is not a simple thing to do. And even if it starts happening, it's not going to happen overnight or even within the next few years.

    You'll start to see some freer distribution models, but it's going to be a long, long time before you get to the promised land of "give digital content away for free and sell the scarcities." Especially in the movie business.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 20th, 2009 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re:

    If an artist like McCartney doesn't want you to share his works, it's wrong to do so against his will, even if it were legal.

    Not in my view. Remember that artists learning and repeating each others' works from the start. The whole concept that you can lock something down is a relatively recent legal fiction.

     

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    John Raven, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 10:38am

    Legal or Right?

    >Violating a copyright holder's rights is not legal.

    True. Time for a revolt. I'm an author of books, audio programs and iPhone apps (currently top 40 in lifestyle category in iTunes)... I abhor copyright law the way it is now. It is NOT written to protect the original creators. If you really think it is, you are NOT an original creator. It is created by and for the big media whorehouses and their servants, the RIAA, MPAA, and there villianous ilk.

    >Violating the wishes of an artist is wrong, even if those
    >wishes are wrong-headed.

    I am an original content creator. My wish is that if you buy my book or listen to my audio progams, that I get your first born to be put into child slavery in the middle east making clothes. How is that wish right, legitimate or even legal? Just because someone WISHES something, doesn't make it right, good or legal. And remember, it's not the original content creator who is usually MAKING the wishes... it's the big media whorehouses, and their wish has nothing to do with the ARTIST'S wishes.

    >Just because you can do something doesn't make it right.

    Just because you can't do something, doesn't make it wrong.

    >Just because YOU think it could benefit the artist,
    >doesn't make doing it right.

    In general, we original content creators are not as technological savy as most, and we're a bit...um... full of ourselves - some more than others. In general, I'm for anything that gets my name out there, but some have been so brain-washed by media and other sources that they blindly accept what they are being told, instead of listening to the people who REALLY matter - our fans, followers, etc.

    John Raven, CHT, CSH
    Certified Hypnotherapist
    www.johnraven.info
    www.pockethypnosis.com

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 10:44am

    Re:

    And I call bullshit on that. There are plenty of stories out there of letters being sent by the lawyers without the clients even being aware of the same.

     

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    Pfmohr1, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 10:50am

    Treatise On the Origin of the Website

    Natural selection at work; as they take down sites, the sites that come in as replacements inevitably adapt and innovate to come out on top. Each site taken down is simply a lesson learned for the next best thing.

     

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    Felix Pleșoianu, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 11:07am

    @Mike "I don't think that most file sharing is legal or right (and I don't participate in any of it)."

    No Creative Commons music? No amateur-made movies? No Linux distributions? You don't know what you're losing...

    @John Raven "I abhor copyright law the way it is now. It is NOT written to protect the original creators. If you really think it is, you are NOT an original creator."

    Seconded.

     

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    Osno, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 11:09am

    What you're describing is actually the opposite to natural selection. In natural selection, you'll have two sites: one with torrents and one with torrents on heavy encryption and untraceable IP addresses. The later will "win", since it's able to survive. Yours is more like artificial advancement.

    But I agree. The IFPI has just made the first step in our next technological advancement, and they're calling it a win.

     

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    Darren Tomlyn (profile), Apr 20th, 2009 @ 11:30am

    A pyrrhic victory...

    Of course they, (content creation/publishing companies etc.), won this particular 'battle', (i.e. the one in the courtroom), since the law here, unfortunately, was not really on TPB's side.

    But the war goes on, as it has done for a while. And this is a war they cannot, MUST not, and WILL not be allowed to win, for humanity ALWAYS wins it's battles against tyranny in the end, even if the war continues...

    The war of corporation vs humanity. This particular aspect in that war, has been ongoing ever since copyright was invented - (to protect book factories profits), and this is merely the latest battle.

    The internet is humanities greatest ever information distribution, storage and copying system - and as such it was an inevitable development, from language, wired and wireless communication after computers were invented.

    Unfortunately for these companies - they were built up by making money from the monopolistic distribution of information, and now the internet means humanity has no actual need for them for that particular reason.

    Which means the ONLY way these companies can survive, is to USE the internet as bast as they can, and give humanity as many reasons as possible in order to use their company, as opposed to others.

    But most are failing to do this.

    If a company fails to supply enough of humanity with the service and product it needs to keep them in business, then WHY should they deserve to exist?

    They have failed to understand, that because of the internet, information, in itself, now has very little inherent value. The ease of access, and the right price to certain information, however, HAS been shown to contain SOME value - (see itunes etc.).

    Unfortunately for humanity, (and therefore for the companies themselves), they have not seen fit to use the internet as a main distribution system for their entire catalogue, and, as I said before, are therefore failing in their job to distribute their content/information. Why? It's why they're supposed to exist? If they wish to succeed, then they must follow the market humanity has created for them. If they cannot, then they should go out of business and be replaced by someone who can.

    Unfortunately, here is where the copyright laws FAIL in their job. In the grand scheme of things, the copyright laws have only guaranteed a short-term spur in profits - but in the medium term - everyone loses, and humanity will not allow itself to lose - hence the existence of TPB et al..

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re:

    And these "stories" can be located at...?

    Any lawyer who would send out a cease and desist letter or the like without the knowledge and consent of the client would be subject to discipline by the cognizant state bar(s), not to mention the strong likelihood of a malpractice action (almost a certainty if the recipient responds by filing a declaratory judgement action).

    Of course, all professions include idiots within their midst, but the likelihood of such any "stories" actually being true is extremely remote.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 11:37am

    Re: A pyrrhic victory...

    "Tyrrany". "War". "Humanity".

    Those are particularly strong words to use for an issue that to a large degree consists of music and movie "lovers" trying to grab a freebie copy of something they know darn good and well is not being provided as such.

     

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    Lucretious, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 11:59am

    Re: Perhaps Not So Easy

    It seems to me that your post makes a great point that if the industry were left to do things at their own pace it would either take many years or, even decades. The specter of "theft" gives them the proverbial kick in the ass they need to bring about the changes at more rapid pace.

    Its also hard to conjure up much sympathy seeing that they had to have seen this coming years ago.

     

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    MIke (profile), Apr 20th, 2009 @ 12:17pm

    Re:

    It is getting tiresome to read your constant rants about your perception that somehow lawyers are "running the show". Decisions are made by their clients, with certainly in almost all instances their lawyers explaining both their legal rights and counseling in favor of restraint.

    The top level management of the RIAA and the MPAA are both made up of mostly lawyers. It's not the lawyers they've hired, it's the lawyers they've put into management. The lawyers *are* the clients.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 12:51pm

    But, millions of people who know that it's illegal have absolutely no problem taking part in it, and no "education" campaign or shutting down of a particular site or service is going to stop that.
    At what point do recognize the effects that this has on the rule of law? When certain laws are hugely unpopular and violated with impunity by ordinary citizens, it is time to reexamine those laws. Letting laws that are widely broken stay on the books (especially those that protect private pecuniary rights), weakens all laws. This is more destructive than widespread infringement could ever be.

     

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  42.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Apr 20th, 2009 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Perhaps Not So Easy

    You're right, it might take awhile.
    I mean, they've only had what, over 10 years to make any advancement at all?
    Instead the only advancement we see out of them is any advancement where they can either try to force people to pay them for nothing, or where they have complete 100% control.
    Part of the whole downloading thing is that it is drm & control free.
    These things should not take more than a year to learn. And even with tons of previous agreements they could start all new deals with the new styles.
    They obviously are too stupid to know or understand anything.
    10 years is more than enough time (way more) to adapt to a digital age.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Apr 20th, 2009 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re:

    Thank you for mentioning civil disobedience Chronno.
    I was going to mention Rosa Parks as a reply until I saw you already replied.
    While I realize that equating file sharers to Rosa Parks is a bit of a stretch, the idea is there that some laws are stupid and need to be broken to make a point.
    In the case back then, Rosa Parks became a symbol that people could rally behind to help change the stupid law(s).
    This pirate bay trial seems to be becoming quite a symbol for our generation. While I do not suspect anything too great will happen too soon (industry still has too much money to buy politicians with), it has at least bolstered the ranks of those who wish to see the poor laws wiped from the book.
    Hey industry folks, the internet is here, adapt or die bitches.

     

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    kirillian (profile), Apr 20th, 2009 @ 1:41pm

    Re:

    My roommates have never been big on file sharing (though I have a new one who torrents day and night...we're gonna need to have a discussion about sharing bandwidth...), but upon hearing about the whole Pirate Bay fiasco have actually become extremely interested in the whole file-sharing issue...perhaps this will cool down sometime in the future, but, for now at least, I think people are becoming extremely aware of the predicament that big-industry has placed them in and they are becoming concerned and upset as a result.

    People do care...sometimes.

     

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  45.  
    icon
    TX CHL Instructor (profile), Apr 20th, 2009 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Never break a bad law?

    Yup, Rosa Parks should have just moved to the back of the bus like she was told to, right? After all, IT WAS THE LAW.

    If a law is wrong, then morality dictates finding a way to allow yourself and other to at least circumvent it. Outright breaking of a bad law may be personally costly, but as Ms. Parks demonstrated, sometimes that is a good way to get it changed.
    --
    www.chl-tx.com

     

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  46.  
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    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2009 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re: Never break a bad law?

    If a law is wrong, then morality dictates finding a way to allow yourself and other to at least circumvent it. Outright breaking of a bad law may be personally costly, but as Ms. Parks demonstrated, sometimes that is a good way to get it changed.

    Indeed, but let's be honest: downloading a file for civil disobedience is quite different than refusing to move to the back of the bus.

    The two aren't even close.

     

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  47.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 20th, 2009 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Never break a bad law?

    Indeed, but let's be honest: downloading a file for civil disobedience is quite different than refusing to move to the back of the bus.

    The two aren't even close.

    I don't know. They're both crimes for acting like a rational human being.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 4:22pm

    I think the parallels between the way people acted during prohibition, equal rights, and now copyrights are extremely strong.

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Luís Carvalho, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 5:04pm

    Trying to understand...

    Since last Friday, April 17th, I can't stop thinking about this.

    I'm a Sharer. Allways have been. Really. From Cassete Tapes, Photocopied books, to the recent media. I even learned to read in a library.

    So, for all my life, 44 years now, I have been following the same principles and never had reason to EVEN question them.

    Why do I share?

    Since last Friday, I've been trying really really hard to figure this out.

    I come out with: because I can, because otherwise I couldn't possibly ever had read so many books, because I would never had seen so many movies, etc...

    But, the real reason was still escaping me.

    I feel completely legitimized to share anything that I have received the same way. I wasn't the one that actualy made the copy. So, downloading and sharing content has never even bothered me, why does it raises questions now?

    Because, my friends, I finally realized that what I was doing had a bigger meaning then my own self-interest.

    By downloading, and sharing, works of art, I am participating in it. Giving it a broader and wider audience, discussing it, using it, evolving from it. Art, in whatever form, should never have a price tag. Even, if artists do have to eat and pay bills. Copyright laws were meant to protect artists, not the ones profiting from their (usualy) underpaid work.

    When you go to a theater watch a movie, you don't pay for the movie, you pay for the rental of the chair to sit on. You pay for the sound system, the projection equipment, and for the smiles (lol) of the employees. Who pays for the movie then? The person that wants you to buy the tickets.

    When I was a kid, there were public outdoor projection of movies, for free. We never missed one. My father allways complained, that it was more expensive to watch movies there, because it was surrounded by cafes and other inviting and alluring things, that allways made him spend more money then he would buying tickets.

    The same thing applies here. What we are sharing is the means for a businness, it was never meant to be the businness itself. Just look at the TV's. The only interest they have on showing this or that show, is for the value of the advertising they can sell.

    TV shows only exist because of advertising. They aren't the businness, they are what lures us to do businness.

    Same thing with music. And everything else.

    But, artists got quickly addicted to the new rules, who wouldn't ? Lot's of money, fame, and even through intermediaries some form of control over their product. I can't really blame them. I'm also human.

    In all this rant, I'm trying to say this:

    The content, only exists in order to sell THE BOX.

    So, sharing the content, isn't wrong. And since the box is unsharable and usualy the worst part of the product, no one would want it anyway.

    So, I'll share has much has I can, in anyway I can, with or without laws.

    Want to make money, good, find more ways to sell boxes.

    P.S.: Please excuse any grammar and spell mistakes, I'm self thaught in english in a non-english country.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Peter, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 6:52pm

    "Indeed, but let's be honest: downloading a file for civil disobedience is quite different than refusing to move to the back of the bus.

    The two aren't even close.
    "

    Essentially, you've just admitted that you don't see anything ethically wrong with file-sharing. If you believe it is not right to file share, then you can't claim it to be civil disobedience.

    So which is it Mike?

    I really, really, *really* respect your research and opinion on the economics of sharing but each time you morally prop yourself up with the caveat that you don't "condone" it, it irks some of us - especially because you can't explain yourself. Again, if you want to argue that civil disobedience is the wrong strategy for getting change, fine - but please stop sending the message that those who share are doing something immoral...unless you are prepared to explain clearly your reason for thinking so. Do you honestly believe that authors should have the right to put people in jail for sharing?

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 6:56pm

    Re: Question begging

    "In my experience, you should never break the law." This is called question begging. If you want to argue that it's unethical to download files, then you can't assume this as your premise.

    I make music. I think it's unethical for people to pay for music, because this payment supports the RIAA, which indirectly decreases peoples' freedom to share and communicate information online. My reasoning is based on a utilitarian argument: it's more important that many people be happy, and feel free to share what they want, even if this makes a few people (musicians) seek employment in a different manner.

    I think it's ethically mandatory that people download music illegally. I've been urging my friends to boycott the music organizations for years, and I haven't bought any music in the last 7 years. So it's perfectly logical and consistent for ethics to be opposed to the law. That's how slavery got overturned, after all. I see it as a similar phenomenon, only here the slavery is intellectual, rather than physical.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    DngnRdr, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 8:21pm

    Grouping & Alternatives

    #1 ... I really hate how these entertainment groups seem to lob all file-sharing in together... Movies, TV, Music, Games etc... when there is a vast difference between them and different reasons why different people participate in sharing or one or more types of files.

    #2 ... they fail to explore other reasons why their sales may be declining - they seem to be always spouting that everything is the fault of file sharers and all file sharers are pirates.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    zcat, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 9:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I suspect they mean 'without knowledge or consent of the original artist' -- no doubt that's true, but in most cases the original artist doesn't have any control over their copyrights any more and the MAFIAA will go ahead and protect their rights 'in the name of the artist' even if the artist wishes the exact opposite.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Felix Pleșoianu, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 9:47pm

    @DngnRdr "they seem to be always spouting that (...) all file sharers are pirates"

    No surprise. Even Mike said essentially the same thing in the article, and coming from him it's SAD. How can it be "piracy" when the author himself has slapped a license on the content saying essentially please share this? Creative Commons, anyone? How about open source software? Techdirt keeps posting examples of people who earn big by explicitly (and legally!) allowing their works to be shared.

    Peter Sunde said during the trial that by his estimation 80% of the torrents tracked by The Pirate Bay are perfectly legal. And you know what? I believe him. Not only what we do isn't wrong, in many/most cases doesn't even break the law.

    We have to end this myth that file-sharing is only good for "piracy" (I can't use this word without quotes). Automatic distributed backups? Lightening the load on Linux distro mirrors? Publishing your work online without a website, server, domain name or anything resembling a centralized distribution point? We're still discovering legitimate uses for file-sharing. And yet, because there's ONE illegitimate use, people are blasting this technology from all sides. This must stop.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    zcat, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 10:44pm

    Re:

    I've got a good reason not to 'pirate'

    Allowing free non-commercial private copying is 'free advertising' which promotes the sales of physical goods such as CDs and DVDs. This was suggested even in the napster days, when it was observed by some that CD sales tended to be higher, not lower, in areas where napster use was high. It's since been 'proven' by the likes of Radiohead, NiN, Janice Ian, Baen, O'Reilly, Cory Doctrow, and many other writers and musicians that have been mentioned here over the years. (And I believe video will eventually fall into the same category, the technology's just not quite there yet)

    We don't want to help the RIAA or MPAA by giving them free advertising and promotion. Instead, share the work of someone who understands, and is making an effort to develop 'new business models' that allow sharing. If those business models are consistently proven successful over the traditional 'all rights reserved' big-label model they'll become the norm instead of the exception. But we won't get there if we're helping promote media that's being distributed under the old models, even against their wishes.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Peter, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 11:20pm

    "We don't want to help the RIAA or MPAA by giving them free advertising and promotion."

    Now if Mike was saying that it is ethically wrong to share unauthorized works because it benefits those who use the law to attack social solidarity - then he may have a point.

    In a similar way, one should not use unauthorized Microsoft software. Doing so helps Microsoft by bolstering their network effect.

     

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  57.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 21st, 2009 @ 4:12am

    Re:

    but please stop sending the message that those who share are doing something immoral...unless you are prepared to explain clearly your reason for thinking so. Do you honestly believe that authors should have the right to put people in jail for sharing?

    Oh hell no. I don't think it's *morally* wrong, and I certainly think it's ridiculous to punish people for it. I think the law should be changed, but I think that there are better ways to have the law changed.

    I think there's a time and a place for civil disobedience, but I don't think it applies here.

    That said, I'm also quite sure that most people will continue file sharing because they don't think it's wrong at all, and it seems like a good thing, and I respect that.

    I just prefer to follow the wishes of the artists who create the music. But I'm not going to try to impose that view on others.

    Instead, I hope to convince the artists that *they're* better off embracing the culture and giving the content away.

     

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  58.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 21st, 2009 @ 4:13am

    Re:

    No Creative Commons music? No amateur-made movies? No Linux distributions? You don't know what you're losing...

    Sorry if I wasn't clear. I *will* and have downloaded that stuff, if the content creator is okay with it.

    I should have been more clear on that point.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Peter, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 5:08am

    "I'm also quite sure that most people will continue file sharing because they don't think it's wrong at all, and it seems like a good thing, and I respect that."

    Thanks Mike. And on the flip-side, I certainly respect the approach of obedience to the artists wishes. The notable thing about this approach however, is that the vast majority of lawsuits are rarely being brought about by artists. They are brought about by organizations like the RIAA who have bought the copyrights.

    Should we respect an artists' wishes when they no longer hold the copyright? If they don't even wish to retain control over their work, should their opinion be given any weight?

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 5:22am

    FUCK THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY, It will be for my entertainment when these fawktards go out of business.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Felix Pleșoianu, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 8:05am

    Thank you for the clarification, Mike.

    In response to some of the comments above, I think convincing more artists to share is more likely to succeed than convincing the public to boycot the Big Media, simply because there are far less artists out there than members of the audience.

    As for artists signing over copyright, well, can they be forced to do that? Because I was asked once or twice to sign over exclusive distribution rights on a magazine article for a period of 5 years (the closest thing we have to yielding copyright here in Europe) and I simply refused. Guess what: nothing bad happened. They even sent me a token payment - the article had already been published. The magazine lost a potential collaborator, and it must have failed altogether, as I never heard of it again. Whereas another magazine, with a completely informal collaboration policy, has gone on for a long time, and I still remeber them fondly (not to mention I have an almost-complete collection).

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    LostSailor, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Never break a bad law?

    Please keep in mind the other part of "civil disobedience" which is that if you break even a bad law, you are arrested and go to jail. Rosa Parks did. As did the original "civil disobedient" Mr. Thoreau, who stayed in jail (even after Emerson wanted to bail him out) to protest.

    Therefore, if you're really engaging in civil disobedience, you should be prepared to accept the consequences.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    LostSailor, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re: Perhaps Not So Easy

    Even with rampant piracy, it's still going to take years--and yes, perhaps even a decade--before the new business models are in place. And even if those business models have a very large component of "free," the models will still be based on selling content to some degree.

    It's not a matter of sympathy. The movie business has adapted to new technology to a point and will do so even more (and more quickly) in the future. But my point is that you don't turn a multi-billion dollar industry, one that has layer upon layer of entangling contractual obligations, to a new business model overnight.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Gavyn, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 10:51am

    What about backup?

    I own all the cds that I have mp3s for, but what if I use an online backup service to protect my investment in these cds. Since my backup service supports file sharing I could be in the wrong for doing this.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Sabine Mondestin, Apr 21st, 2009 @ 7:44pm

    Win Win is the way to go!!!

    What they need is to find a win win way. Every body is loosing at this point and I don't think that the court is the way to go. Let's be all smarter then this and use our brain for once!

     

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  66.  
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    skyrider (profile), Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 7:20am

    Re: Number 29

    "So why won't anyone in Hollywood build my service? The reason isn't stupidity. When I called people in the industry this week, I found that many in the movie business understand that online distribution is the future of media. But everything in Hollywood is governed by a byzantine set of contractual relationships between many different kinds of companies—studios, distributors, cable channels, telecom companies, and others."

    IANAL either, but it seems to me that if Hollywood can push through the Bono Act and try for the golden goose with ACTA, they could just as easily push for a world-wide agreement that regulates media shared across networks, and even put in a grandfather clause (right term?) negating all those pesky contracts.

    For the sake of argument, let's call it the SHIP agreement. (Safe Harbor Internet Protocol.) since they are so fond of acronyms.

    People worldwide contribute a 'tax' on their internet connections, and in exchange they can share anything they want across any network across any national boundary.

    Companies, people, etc, register their work, and get a hash for their file. When somebody transfers a file with that hash, the creator gets a point. Those points will translate into their local currency at the end of the month, and the creator will get a check. (this would be based on complicated mathematical formulas but basically the files that get transferred the most get the most money kicked back to the creator)

    They 'could' do this, but they don't. They want control and containment even more then they want money.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Reverend Joe, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 9:10am

    Re:

    Exactly.

    Which is why we should have STAYED British colonialists.

    God Save The Queen!

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    HRH Sven Olaf Prinz von CyberBunker MP, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 10:29am

    war trial for crimes against humanity anyone?

    Time to put the employees and directors of RIAA/MPAA members on trial for breaking every principle of democracy and freedom, theft in the form of blackmailing people to pay additional fees on empty media, wether used for copied music or not, corrupting governments and abusing their powers against the general population in order to sustain
    their obsolete business model.

    who's the criminal now, bitch :P

    see you in court a few years from now..

    Also, time to bring back some chemical waste to where it belongs, their office. thats right, cds, dvds and tapes ARE chemical waste, just dump them in their office as they clearly state they are their "property" :P

    The world can't do without internet, the world can very well do without the "big 5" enemies of the free world.

    We have reached the point where most ISPs including us maintain a zero tolerance policy towards "the entertainment industry" as they clearly act hostile, we may have to engage in some censorship ourselves and just block them of our parts of the internet to stop them from promoting their shit for free over our networks (and backs) as well.
    see how they like being disconnected themselves.

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    Ishan, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 7:22pm

    other trackers following suit

    I completley agree with most of the posts here and the general trend - nothing is won by suing the piratebay (i have also blogged about this topic)

    But it seems many tracker sites are now running scared - not just in sweden, but even taiwan i heard...So this ruling DOES have some global implications.

    But again, i agree with alot of you on the point that this case also highlights and raises the awareness of other filesharing options people have at their disposal - darknets, iPredator and other VPN apps.

    Was this the correct way about curbing piracy - no way. This increases the sympathy the market feels toward those poor 4 nedry lookin swedish dudes and increases the hatred they feel toward multinational music corporations

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    FrellMeDead, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 3:00pm

    real problem

    The main problem a lot of people have is that in order to legally purchase media it requires a person to pay $20+ for a single disc and that disc has DRM on it which limits what can be done with it, like watching it on a computer, MP3/PMP, etc. Maybe if we weren't told what we could and could not do with the media that we legally purchase then we would have a more favorable attitude towards the media companies.
    I guess it comes down to the overall idea that the media companies try to squeeze every last cent they can out of there product instead of working with the consumer and working towards a better business model/future.

     

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    @narcholinguist, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 2:25pm

    "Both"

    "Both" has an outdated, but technically unobjectionable, meaning which is more like "all of the following things". When that usage was more common, the point was to emphasize the totality of the statement, i.e., that all of the listed things apply, and it's not an either/or kind of situation. Astute readers will notice that the modern "both" continues to serve this role as insisting that both, not just one, of two things are true/false/whatever.

    The only difference is in the allowed number of 'things'. Keep in mind that when I say "difference", I don't mean "divergence from the norm", I mean "difference between two socially acceptable norms". As far as I can tell, the older "both" can theoretically take any number of 'things' as its arguments, but a legislative body might have fallen sound asleep if the filibustering asshat listed four or more; obviously, within the 20th century, the new "both" took firm command. I was thinking about this because yesterday I nearly set my printout of the Anarchist FAQ's Section I on fire because they quoted some dude as saying "both this, that and the other thing will happen", or whatever. In other words, it's a vaguely-timed generational gap. I could picture Kurt Vonnegut whipping out one of these three-pronged boths back in the day.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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