Author Slams 'Piracy,' Then Admits To A Huge 'Pirated' Music Collection And Counterfeit Purses

from the hypocrites-everywhere dept

It’s kind of scary how often people, who claim to be such huge supporters of copyright, are caught infringing on copyrights when it suits them — often offering amusing rationalizations for their own actions. Torrentfreak has the somewhat hilarious story of a Norwegian author, Anne B Ragde, who was interviewed for an article about unauthorized ebook file sharing and she did the predictable thing and complained about how awful it is, saying that it’s no different from stealing and saying that “I have figured out that I’ve lost half a million kronor ($72,500) on piracy of my books, maybe more.” Later she says: “I can not stand the thought of someone stealing something.”

However, moments later, she’s asked if she’s ever bought counterfeit goods and she responds:

“Pirated handbags? Yes, I do buy them,” she said. “I feel that the genuine Prada bags have such an inflated price.”

Fascinating. One wonders how she’d respond to those who are involved in unauthorized book file sharing by claiming that the genuine products “have such an inflated price.” Her son, Jo, then apparently chimes in to help the interviewer and notes:

“You have a pirated MP3 collection,” Jo added, helpfully. “We copied the first 1500 songs from one place and 300 from another.”

“Yes,” admitted Ragde. “There were a lot of things on the iPod.”

But she just “can not stand the thought” of others doing the same to her work?

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Comments on “Author Slams 'Piracy,' Then Admits To A Huge 'Pirated' Music Collection And Counterfeit Purses”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Most IP maximists are hypocrites. They outwardly claim “piracy is bad’ but inwardly they probably pirate like crazy. No surprise there.

The drug war is the same thing. Most of the people who go to jail for illegal drug use/sales are of the lower class, but drug users/sellers are predominantly middle/upper class.

Hulser (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

[citation needed]

Since IP law is so broadly defined, it’s very easy for someone to accidentally infringe. For example, according to the AP, even if you only quote a few words from their articles, you owe them money. See also the recent TD posts about how Sherman Fredericks, a proponant of strong IP laws, (presumably) accidentally linked to an infringing copy of an SNL video. So, it stands to reason that most people (incuding “IP maximalists”) probably “pirate like crazy”. They may not even know they’re doing it or maybe they think that in their particular case, it’s not piracy, but according to a strict interpretation of the law, they’re probably infringing dozens of times day.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Since IP law is so broadly defined, it’s very easy for someone to accidentally infringe.

What is even funnier is when software companies are found copying from GPL and other open-source licensed software while claiming that others are pirating their software (i.e. Goldman Sachs, where at least one expert testified that Goldman Sachs code contained open source code, and yet they turned around and prosecuted Sergey Aleynikov for stealing their code.)

Other companies have been in the news in the past for similar transgressions, including several hardware vendors who used GPL licensed code in their hardware without following the license and who put restrictions on the distribution of the code contrary to the GPL.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Wait… If Goldman Sachs never distributed their software, no clauses in the GPL trigger at all (you are free to use it all you want, even incorporate it in your own software, only that if you distribute it you have to do so also under the GPL).

In the case of the hardware vendors, on the other hand, it does apply (since they are distributing the code).

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Wait… If Goldman Sachs never distributed their software, no clauses in the GPL trigger at all (you are free to use it all you want, even incorporate it in your own software, only that if you distribute it you have to do so also under the GPL).

Absolutely true, AC.. They didn’t distribute the code. But neither did Aleynikov. He just made a copy of their code, and presumably planned on using that code to help him write a competitors code. GPL does not apply, but the question is that if they borrowed code from GPL, shouldn’t Aleynikov be allowed to borrow the same code for the competitor (though I’d argue that they have every right to keep him from borrowing their code, I think the problem was that he was borrowing their code *and* GPL code. I know the jury ended up convicting him on borrowing their code…but how much code did he actually borrow that was theirs, and how much wasn’t?

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I hate to respond to this a second time, and AC, don’t take this as a response to what you said. I had time to think about this some more, and felt I should delve a little further here.

I responded with Goldman Sachs as an example to grandparent AC’s comment that he needed citations for great-grandparent AC’s comment about most IP maximalists being hypocrites. I was giving an example, which I still believe is an example of Goldman Sachs being a hypocrite. What Goldman Sachs did was legal, and I’d even argue, it was entirely ethical (based on the GPL.) But it doesn’t make them any less of a hypocrite because they could have clean room developed the code instead of just borrowing it from open-source.

RMS is a smart man, and he believes (unlike most Copyright Maximalists,) that Copyright only restricts the distribution of software. GPL is based on that belief. Copyright Maximalists argue, however, that copyright means they can restrict how the software (or other artwork) is used, hence you see things like DVD Region Encoding, EULAs, and the such. Goldman Sachs believes that their own programmer should not be allowed to keep a copy of the code he worked on for them.

Now I am making no excuses for Aleynikov, what he did was 100% unethical, and entirely wrong especially since his stated intent was to use the code to get a better job with a competitor. However, I see this as the ultimate result of an organization that doesn’t understand the implications of borrowing GPL, either without understanding what GPL means, or by taking the attitude that so long as they don’t distribute GPL code in their product, they are safe. They may be legally allowed to borrow the code, but they are still being hypocritical by getting upset with Aleynikov for borrowing their code. I could play the same game as the copyright maximalists and claim that unless Aleynikov was developing the software directly on the server, he did distribute the software (but RMS would rightly not agree with this statement, and neither would I.)

I’ve worked in several closed source software projects and all but one of them were hypocritical when it came to borrowing code (they would freely borrow from someone else, but would not return the favor)…I worked shortly for one boss who believed that any code which was published was fair game for use in his project. “If they didn’t want it copied, they shouldn’t have published it in the first place.” I didn’t want to have anything to do with him after he told me this…he didn’t want anyone else copying his code, but he’d freely copy anything that he came across.

On the other hand, I worked on a project where the project “got it.” All submitted code had to contain documentation on what sources were used to develop the code (including what tech manuals/SDK we used,) and if anything was taken from open source or from any other restricted license, it had to be a clean room development of the open source project, and the clean room process and all participants had to be documented, or the code was rejected. I left the project to move on to better things (open source projects,) and haven’t been back since.

I think the only way to develop closed source is to develop the way the second project did things. Certainly if the second project was sued for copyright infringement, they’d have an easy time in court. But they were also the only project that wasn’t hypocritical about their use of borrowed code, they even documented when they borrowed code from themselves for other projects they worked on. Part of the duty of choosing closed source is that you have to be extremely careful about where it is coming from…far less of a problem with open source since everyone can see the submissions and bad code is usually caught immediately, and you can borrow code from other open source projects usually without running afoul of their licenses.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

[citation needed]

While perhaps you are right that proving “most” is impossible, I think the sentiment is quite valid. Here are several examples of major copyright hypocrisy that techdirt has covered recently…

A fashion designer:

The UK tories:

Nicolas Sarkozy (several times):

News Corp:

And let’s not forget the Lily Allen affair…

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Which is why the first thing I said is that you’re right, there’s no way to prove it’s “most”

However I think the trend is quite telling – what’s common in each of these stories isn’t that anyone willfully infringed, but that they all just didn’t even notice because what they were doing felt perfectly natural. And while, again, it’s not fair to assert most (yes, you caught that one poor word choice), I think it is a fair observation that a lot of people casually infringe on a regular basis, including many vehement supporters of copyright and even more people who, if asked, would say (and believe) that they never infringe.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I certainly agree that, especially in the context of copyright law, the law is defined in a manner that makes infringement easy and common and sometimes (oftentimes) unknowing, in addition to being unclear as to whether such uses would be infringements or fair use or de minimus copying.

I don’t really think pirated mp3s or counterfeit handbags really fit neatly into that category, but I agree it is problematic.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Hypocrites are a dime a dozen. Film at 11.”

This is a Fox News SCOOP!

Techdirt; It turns out, according to those we have interviewed, that hyprocrites are a dime a dozen…because the government is SUBSIDIZING them! Normally hypocrites cost somewhere between $1 and $1.22, but because of anti-business efforts by the democrats and Barack Obama, hyprocrites are being forced onto the American people at a low price.

We asked Sean Hannity what he thought about this amazing development.

SH: Thanks, Brit. I am just so sick and disgusted with these liberals, these snake-oil salesmen socialists, coming in and stealing all of our liberties and replacing them with dime-store hypocrites. Don’t we remember Bush? Now THERE was a hypcorite that COST you something!

Thanks Sean. We’ll be following up with film at 10, instead of 11, so as to preempt our competition with our complete insanity. Coming up after the break: how much truth is behind the theory that feminism is linked to mental retardation, and then our signature segment: how to hate people that look different than you!

/Sorry, I have no idea why I did this, other than I hate the dime a dozen and film at 11 cliches….

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Irish Jig

I don’t want to infest this thread with stuff about my own work

DH, we all want to hear about your book. Just wish Mike would add some sort of profile page (beyond that which lists your past comments) where people can write on your wall and discuss stuff like this.

Of course, he might have to clear a couple patents first…

crade (profile) says:

?The stuff on my ipod is not representative of my relationship with the music industry and the products they produce. I pay for my music,?

I’m sure a good deal of (book and music) “pirates” would say (and believe) the same thing. Sure she might have some infringing content, but she probably does pay for her music… Just like most everyone else does.

Jay says:


And I just submitted this, thinking it was pretty funny.

OT – If anything, people are promoted by their own self interests. So if they can skim some money, they will for their own sake. Yet, they want more from everyone else.

Seriously, I have to wonder how she “lost” that 72,000 kronor…?

No math like that of a copyright monopoly.

Transbot9 (user link) says:

As strange as it sounds...

Compared to other creative types (of which I am one), from what I’ve seen authors are often “closer” to their creations. Where as, say, an artist usually doesn’t mind fan-art, an author often has a negative view of fan fiction involving their characters. This seems especially true of prolific authors with characters that span multiple books.

It’s also not too uncommon for artists to place a higher value on their own work than on others, especially art of a different medium.

Transbot9 (user link) says:

Re: Re: As strange as it sounds...

Sorry, I wasn’t meaning to excuse, only to explain. It is stupid and hypocritical, and there are nastier examples in the “art world.” I’ve ran into artists who claim I’m not a real artist because I use a computer in most of my work, which, if you know anything about art history of the last 150 years, is a really stupid mindset.

Transbot9 (user link) says:

Re: Re: As strange as it sounds...

Not quite as different as you think – at least legally. Under Derivative Works, some prominant authors have used IP law to shut down fan sites, attack their own customers, etc. rather than using it as a way to further connect with their fans and increase sales. It’s still stealing in there minds.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: As strange as it sounds...

Yes, as I said it’s an emotional reaction that has nothing to do with making money. If they think it’s “stealing”, but they end up losing money as a direct result of their actions, then they did the wrong thing commercially. They may be vindicated on an emotional level, but their emotional reaction and their business will have been directly opposed to each other.

Sometimes, an artist has to face the fact that how they want their work to be used, and how the public end up using it are often not the same thing. As this author apparently realises for works she didn’t create.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 As strange as it sounds...

…which is why some of them really shouldn’t be making their own business decisions first hand. Let their publishers or agents make the decisions, separated from the artistic process. They then have to be made aware that there’s the gap between art and business and that losing money may mean that they can’t maintain their artistic purity, and that maintaining the latter may mean less sales.

I don’t think we’re disagreeing here, but there are definitely times when your emotional reaction is bad for business, and making money requires art to be compromised. That some artists can’t stomach that is unfortunate, but has nothing to do with the arguments about “stealing” and saving old business models we keep seeing from them.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

actually forced to perform

Stealing is so rampant, she noted, that Norwegian musicians are actually forced to perform in order to profit from their talent. Sometimes they even have to play live.

Ohhhh noooooo, I actually have to work. Arrrrggggghhh!!!! What is this world coming to?

Sometimes they even have to play live. – Oh what a shame.

?The stuff on my iPod is not representative of my relationship with the music industry and the products they produce. I pay for my music,? she said.
Eh…except for those 1800.

Huph says:

Re: actually forced to perform

Stealing is so rampant, she noted, that Norwegian musicians are actually forced to perform in order to profit from their talent. Sometimes they even have to play live.

Ohhhh noooooo, I actually have to work. Arrrrggggghhh!!!! What is this world coming to?

Sometimes they even have to play live. – Oh what a shame.

You’re taking her quote out of context. What she was implying is that she sees musicians who play live in order to make a living without remuneration from recordings, but what can she do? What’s an author’s recourse? To charge people to come and watch her write live? I can sort of sympathize with an author, their medium isn’t about performance. They don’t have a fall-back plan if they’re not getting paid for their finished writings.

Well, Harlan Ellison did “perform” live in the window of some NYC storefront, but every author ain’t Harlan Ellison. And even he only did it once as a publicity stunt.

Not that I really sympathize with her. Of course the smarmy “I download books and I don’t even read them” 19-year-old raises a whole pirated-handbag’s worth of ire in me. Not about the piracy, just the fact that with access to all this info, it seems people aren’t really taking any advantage…

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

I agree with her

Prada is overpriced and so is most music and literature.

I happily download pirated music and have no intention of paying for it. It has very little value to me in digital form, and so I see no reason to pay for it.

“But that’s illegal… blah blah blah”

Well it was change of format the forced me to buy a lot of the same music over and over through the 60s 70s 80s and 90s. Vinyl to cassette to CD ( I was never big on 8-tracks), and I don’t remember any of the record labels lowering the price for me or offering discounts for having to buy the same music.

I’ve paid for the music several times and don’t see the reason to pay for it going forward, unless its a concert or something special that has value.

giafly says:


@ Ima Fish, re: “Well duh. When it happens to her she’s losing money!”
@ Hose Libre, re: “Piracy is okay for her because she’s had people steal from her.”

Repeat after me, “piracy is not theft, it’s piracy, so no money was lost”.

@ Greevar, re: “Now copyright law, on the other hand, is broadly defined and done so to benefit the creators over the public.”

Repeat after me, “copyright law rewards copyright holders, not creators”

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