IFPI/BPI: Picking Off The Weak In The Herd

from the attacking-grandmothers-for-fun-and-profit dept

My name is Tim and I’m an addict.  Yes, friends, I have to stand up, get my first day of sobriety chip, and admit to you that I’m addicted.  To Animal Planet.  And National Geographic.  Basically those nature shows that show me the beauty of the outside world through the sickly glowing television in my two story walkup on the north side of America’s third biggest urban environment.

It’s the whole predatory thing, see.  I’m fascinated by the way we portray nature’s biggest predators, be they sharks, or cheetahs, or falcons.  Can’t you just hear the calm voiceover now? 

"The predator approaches from downwind so as not to alert his prey.  He spots the heard, teeming masses of animals drinking from the same stream.  Ah ha, he has picked out his victim.  An old female, third generation from the looks of her, and perhaps not as spry as the others.  Now he begins the chase.  He zigs and zags, creating confusion amongst the herd.  And then he has her in his jaws, tearing her limb from limb."

Wait.  That’s not Animal Planet.  It’s TorrentFreak alerting us that IFPI and BPI are going after an auxiliary nurse grandmother in Scotland whose documented obsessive compulsive disorder caused her to hoard (and apparently make available) thousands of music files (mostly kaoraoke files).  In what is being called the first case of its type in the country, the music industry is going after the weak of the herd, apparently.  The woman’s lawyer noted:

"Alarmingly, this was not a commercial enterprise and Muir was not alleged to have made any money from these offences. She must be considered to have minimal culpability compared to others in the file-sharing chain. Yet again, the industry have chosen to pursue someone remarkable only by virtue of their vulnerability."

Now, before the normal pack of hyenas here begin circling the corpse and nipping at everyone’s heels, it should be noted that she only made her files available because doing so was required for her to get access to the Direct Connect hub so she could hoard even more files which, again, was caused (as ruled by the courts, which ordered her to get cognitive therapy) by her obsessive compulsive disorder.  And if you think this sounds familiar, it’s because the RIAA has been going after grandmothers for years (perhaps they can patent the approach?).

Perhaps I’m just an old softy, but if you’re really filing these suits based on principle, why do they have to go after certifiably ill grandmothers?  I mean, I appreciate music labels trying to help me with my Animal Planet fix, but maybe mimicking predatory behavior isn’t the best business strategy?

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Comments on “IFPI/BPI: Picking Off The Weak In The Herd”

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That Anonymous Coward says:

Well they did start with dead guys, and allowed the family a few days to grieve before lying to the courts about negotiations they were having with the deceased.

They managed to loose that one as well, but maybe they hope a Grandmother will make a better target, she was knitting CD COZIES! BURN HER AT THE STAKE!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Alarmingly, they went after someone who had broken the law, had amassed a pretty big pile of files, and was freely distributing them to others in violation of the law.

You can stack up all the cute old grandmother stuff you like, it doesn’t deny the underlying issues. She broke the law, she is paying the price for having done so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Sure, fine.

But why target her first, when others who cause real damage (by actually _selling_ those songs) continue to do so with relative impunity? Shouldn’t those by the primary target?

Also, on a slightly unrelated note, there is one very questionable bit in this story that could make one go like “hmmm”:

“As was revealed in her trial, Muir had to ?make available? many thousands of tracks in order to gain enough status to be allowed access to the Direct Connect hub in question. The same would be true of the music industry investigators. It is perhaps food for thought that the some of the very files made available within the sharing hub ? including those shared by Muir ? were actually supplied by the music industry.”


Re: Re: The PackRat instinct run amok...

Humans are really just successful scavengers. The idea that Humans are “hunters” is just silly macho romanticism. So the human inclination to hoard makes a lot of sense.

Of course the most pathological hoarders are going to be the most prominent. They’re going to be he most prolific “sharers”.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Seeing how you anonymous cowards regularly insinuate or just outright accuse everyone of being an evil pirate, why don’t you go after some real pirates?

Why not pick a target that is clearly a massive infringer, is clearly willful about it, and understands exactly what they are doing? Aren’t those the people you really are trying to stop?

If you stopped those people, the grandmothers wouldn’t have anywhere to get their files from. I doubt that the grandmothers (those with or without computers) are actually ripping tracks from CDs, or buying mp3s and then redistributing them.

This grandmother sounds like an OCD obsessed with collecting files. Remove the source of files she is collecting.

Hey, here’s an idea: try to turn her obsession to stopping piracy! Give her the tools and a tiny reward for each actual pirate she can discover.

Here’s another idea: sell music in a form people want to buy at a reasonable price! That would greatly reduce piracy.

Try to get OCD grannys to obsess about how much music they can buy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

If you read the story more closely, you will understand that nobody seemed aware of her OCD status until after the case had made it into court.

As for: This grandmother sounds like an OCD obsessed with collecting files. Remove the source of files she is collecting.

All I can say is that she probably downloaded them from someone else with an OCD as well, like the guys who run the pirate bay. I can see this being their latest excuse.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“If you read the story more closely, you will understand that nobody seemed aware of her OCD status until after the case had made it into court.”

Then why didn’t the govt. drop the case at that point? Or why didn’t the industry call for them to? The woman was sick. At least in the States, we don’t convict people for things caused by personal illness….

“All I can say is that she probably downloaded them from someone else with an OCD as well, like the guys who run the pirate bay. I can see this being their latest excuse.”

Oh, come on. No one is saying there aren’t people who willfully infringe and make files available w/o illness. Hell, it’s not like I, the author of the article, am someone that proposes abolishing copyright either. Don’t be silly….

Miso Susanowa says:


Finally, someone talking about the elephant in the room.

We know that mass duplication in China, Taiwan and a handful of other countries are 90% responsible for the REAL “pirated” music and film economy. They print discs; they make cheap covers; they sell them by the truckload. A lot of money changes hands. But the RIAA is in collusion with the labels to destroy or cripple the functionality of the net; this dovetails nicely with government’s desire to do the same, for the same reasons.

We have trade agreements. We do not wish to tread on those sacred business contracts. Ergo the largest, proveable, traceable and stoppable money losses the entertainment industries are suffering are hidden away and covered over while the Enforcement Men go after grannies, teens, kids, artists…

Draw your own conclusions. Mine is that these are two arms of the same octopus; collusion between business and government.

Anonymous Coward says:

Reminds me of Sheep

Going with the animal theme . . . it’s past time for the revolution. Let’s use this Pink Floyd song as the anthem:

Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away;
Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air.
You’d better watch out!
There may be dogs about
I looked over Jordan, and I’ve seen
Things are not what they seem.

That’s what you get for pretending the danger’s not real.
Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.
What a surprise!
A look of terminal shock in your eyes.
Now things are really what they seem.
No, this is not a bad dream.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me down to die
Through pastures green He leadeth me the silent waters by.
With bright knives He releaseth my soul.
He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places.
He converteth me to lamb cutlets,
For lo, He hath great power, and great hunger.
When cometh the day we lowly ones,
Through quiet reflection, and great dedication
Master the art of Karate,
Lo, we shall rise up,
And then we’ll make the bugger’s eyes water.

Bleating and babbling we fell on his neck with a scream.
Wave upon wave of demented avengers
March cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream.

Have you heard the news?
The dogs are dead!
You better stay home
And do as you’re told.
Get out of the road if you want to grow old.

PS. I do not advocate actually killing them all, just the businesses.

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