Swashbuckling Under Pressure


I’ll admit it – I am a former pirate.

Back in high school and college, I traded MP3’s with friends.  We burned each other copies of games.  I was not a stranger to the occasional DVD copy.  And I ran an illegal OS with illegal software for years.

Much has changed since those days, however.  When I fire up my computer today, I’m pleased to see a completely legal copy of Windows XP appear on the screen.  Every piece of software and every game I run on my machine has been paid for.  And even though a few remnants of my freebooter past resurface now and then in my MP3 collection, the vast majority of the music I listen to was purchased from iTunes, Amazon, or ripped from a CD I bought.

It makes me feel good.  But now, I seem to find myself on the opposite side of the fence from many of my fellow internet users.
Recently, the crew behind The Pirate Bay website was put on trial and subsequently convicted of “assisting in making copyright content available,” with a total of $3,620,000 in fines, and each member of the team facing a one year prison sentence.  It’s hard to say whether or not the verdict was just.  On the one hand, The Pirate Bay is brazenly obvious about the purpose of its site.  The pirate theme has been taken on in name and symbol, it organizes torrent files by media type (music, movies, programs, etc.),  and a cursory search of the site will reveal that the vast majority of the content being traded among users is not legal.  But on the other hand, The Pirate Bay doesn’t explicitly host any of the files in question; they merely house the torrent files users download to find peers in their BitTorrent client.  So it could be argued that it is the site’s users who are in performing the illegal activity, and not the site itself (dubbed the “King Kong defense“).

I happened to read this news on Digg, and many people there disagreed with the verdict.  What disturbed me though, was that the majority of these people didn’t care about the legal intricacies or implications of the matter.  They seemed only to think that piracy should be legal, and that it was in the best interest of everyone to continue pirating movies and music in protest.

Here’s a few excerpts from the comments section of the submission I read:

Let’s all stop going to the cinema for one year!

Truly a sad day…I’m gonna watch a torrented movie now :'(

95% of teenagers generation uses file sharing; they will be the ones in a few years who can vote and be in power.

The majority of people in power at the moment have more than likely never truely used the Internet; for them it’s just about profits.

Stopping bullshit.

If you release an album of music, have all the songs good. There is no point in having an album with one good song and the other 50 tracks full of useless songs for padding.

Same with copy-paste Hollywood blockbusters and Video Games.

A real torrent user with pay for anything that is worth of value. Half-Life 2, Super Mario Galaxy, The Dark Knight, these were barely affected by piracy because they were…you know…actually GOOD so people bought them.

So basically, the MPAA and the RIAA are pissed because they will have to get the Entertainment Industry to work harder and actually make a majority good content, which is the exact opposite of their business plan of “take a dump in a bag and net one billion dollars.”

And that is exactly the problem with the RIAA MPAA and this witch hunt. All they are trying to do is protect their ability to get money for producing steaming piles of bullshit! Period.

Surely I couldn’t be the only person who reads comments like this and just shakes his head in disgust.

First of all, just because something isn’t good by your count, doesn’t mean that you are entitled to take it for free.  In fact, I personally don’t understand why you would go to the trouble of taking it for free if it’s not good to begin with.  But one of the best things about MP3 stores like Amazon is that you can almost always buy individual songs and leave the rest of the album behind, if you so choose.  Under most circumstances, that’ll only set you back a buck, too.

And if that’s not good enough for you, then look at piracy figures for games like World of Goo or Demigod.  Both games have gotten good reviews, and both were released without anti-piracy measures in place.  At last count, World of Goo had an estimated piracy rate of 90%, while Demigod, after only being out for a week, had hit about 85%.  I’m no fan of heavy-handed copy protection measures, but if you think that good content doesn’t get pirated, you might just be an idiot.

Secondly, I find it absurd that some people think that music, movies, and art in general should be a free service provided to everyone else.  Yes, many artists (myself included) produce work purely for others to see and share with each other.  But we also ought to be able to make money from our work, and if the legal system doesn’t help protect us, then what incentive do we have to do work?  If your passion is carpentry, should I expect you to build me a house pro bono just because you like doing it?

But let’s take this idea to the extreme for a moment – imagine that the judicial system has decided that music, movies, and other artistic works should be free for the public to copy and share.  Essentially intellectual property, patents, copyrights, etc. would be no more.

Creative work would be pointless, because anyone would be able to take anything you made and reproduce it without consequence.  By an ironic twist of fate, large companies, being in the best position to market and sell media, would benefit the most from this arrangement; they would be able to take any idea they spotted among independents and replicate, package, and sell it without giving a cent to the original creator.  Where is the logic in that?

Don’t get me wrong here;  I’m not siding with big business on this issue.  I’m no proponent of the DRM schemes they’ve tried to use to protect their content, typically to the detriment of paying customers.  But when I see the ridiculous sense of entitlement people have towards media, coupled with the outrageous piracy rates of games like World of Goo, I can’t help but think that there must be some kind of “happy medium” between producers and consumers.  And there is, by means of systems like Steam, which seem to be getting things mostly right so far.  But we’ve got a long way to go.  It’s important to me that we arrive at that destination though, because I am an artist and a creative person, and I want my work to be protected, like everyone else.

For now, I’m just happy to report that despite my years aboard the massive vessel of media piracy, I’m no longer part of the problem.

And it feels good to be a landlubber.

Image courtesy of Pirates of the Caribbean


  1. Anthoni_C - Over a year ago

    I will say I try and get as much stuff as I can legally. Hince the reason I use Blender and GIMP, I just can’t afford Maya, Max, or Photoshop.

    I stick to the land mostly but find my self out on the sea every once and a while.

    Oh and…

    Viva La Open Source!

    1. FredFredrickson - Over a year ago

      I like open source software, but there’s a reason why it’s good to know the commercial stuff too – because most jobs out there require that you know it.

      A funny thing about Photoshop though, that made me realize that pirating it was silly: I was reading some comments on Digg about Adobe software piracy a while back, and one of the people who replied was a designer. To paraphrase, he / she stated that, “Photoshop really isn’t that expensive when you consider that after one or two jobs, you’ve earned enough money to pay for it.”

      And I completely agree. If you’re actually using it to do work, and not just to make forum signatures / lolcats, it pays for itself pretty quickly.

      Maya and Max are a little bit harder to justify like that, but if you like them and you want to build a career around that stuff, buying them can be one of the most important things you do. I’ve got trueSpace, ad for now that’s good enough for me. I need to spend more time with the upper tier 3D apps before I think about buying any of them… my Maya skills are pretty sad, if only because I get lost in the interface constantly, hehe.

  2. Yourself - Over a year ago

    Is that picture fair use?

    1. FredFredrickson - Over a year ago

      Haha, no, of course it isn’t. I was wondering how long it would be before someone pointed that out. ;)

      That picture appeared on a lot of different websites when I did an image search for it, so I assume that it was part of some sort of PR package that Disney used for the film… if it were a DVD screen grab it wouldn’t be on more than a few sites, and it probably wouldn’t have been so high in resolution either (the original image was 2000 x 1333).

  3. Aviraldg - Over a year ago

    I usually use “Free Software” (note. the difference between OSS and FS , as said by Richard Stallman himself) , with the occasional Photoshop and Dreamweaver. Arr matey! What’re you supposed to do if the royal navy stops printing your favourite book and stashes its copy onboard its ship? Attack pirates! That’s the only “justified piratism”. Same goes for movies or soaps…

    1. FredFredrickson - Over a year ago

      When I can’t find something because it’s out of print or on back order, I just look it up on eBay or Amazon’s third party store / auctions… you can find just about anything, usually… and often for very cheap!

  4. SunnyKatt - Over a year ago

    I’m the same way you are – I only buy all of my stuff. Stealing from an indie developer is the worst, it makes me sick.

    It’s nearly impossible to argue with pirates on the internet. They are like a sea of zombies stretching out to a horizon you don’t have the energy to fight to.

    Nice post, man. :)

    1. FredFredrickson - Over a year ago

      Thanks SunnyKatt, and I agree – though I don’t think people ought to pirate anyone, I think piracy against independent developers hurts worse, because small groups / companies don’t have the resources to combat it, or the sales figures to absorb it. Especially when it approaches 80%-90%, as with the games I mentioned above!

  5. desertdweller - Over a year ago

    Nice to hear something against piracy. Lots of my friends even admit they pirate, and it’s sad. Every time I confront them, I get the “They don’t know they’re missing $20” argument. OF COURSE THEY DON’T!!! ARE YOU GONNA TELL THEM YOU’RE PIRATING THEIR STUFF!!???

    Pirating is selfish and irrational. By refusing to support the company (especially indies) you help ensure that no more games/videos/music like that will be coming from that developer. It’s that simple.

  6. MasterOfHisOwnDomain - Over a year ago

    I’m not sure of the situation in the US, but here in the UK the music industry.. I don’t want to say ‘deserves’ piracy.. but it doesn’t do itself any favours. Prices are high, remain high and you generally do not get anything extra for it. Rather than winge consistently about how the pirates are stealing their candy, they should have made attempts to appeal to customers.

    You are right undoubtedly. I hadn’t even considered the wider aspects of the issue as I should have. I’ve recommended this article to friends and family already, as way of redemption!

  7. Mattthew_H - Over a year ago

    Yeah, same here too, Master.
    Everything is at such a high price. Music is much to expensive, and the AUS Dollar is crap – so, I’m not surprised that I know so many people that do pirate.

    1. FredFredrickson - Over a year ago

      Do you think those people would stop pirating if music was cheaper?

  8. Mechanotal - Over a year ago

    Good post man.

    And yeah, as sunnykatt pointed, stealing from an indie developer is worst of them all.

  9. MT - Over a year ago

    It was good of me to buy world of goo

    With Demigod and Stardock, the pirates are pretty stupid. Don’t they know these people are the ones who are really against DRM. Way to bite the hand that feeds you.

    Sins of a Solar Empire FTW

    I basically read A LOT about games before i buy them. Cheaper stuff would alleviate the problem a bit. I live in Aus and game prices are horrible. like $120
    for a new ps3/xbox360 game horrible, its even worse in New Zealand and probably in other places. Even then, there’s still steam and ebay

  10. Anthoni_C - Over a year ago

    I don’t really use Blender for the piracy thing, that’s mainly GIMP. I use Blender because I actually like it. The interface(if your an 3D artist) allows for unparalleled speed. Speaking of that it has a built in UV mapper and OBJ export so I make all my GM models in that without even using Marzipan, only Mosaic. Also, it can export to most popular formats. So I will stick to PLE’s of commercial products and keep using Blender. Anyhow, if a studio wants me to use Maya or Max I will just sneak some Blender in there. :P I have use photoshop a few times though, GIMP versus Photoshop is non-existent, they both there own advantages.

    Wow, I wrote a lot… Phew.

    On the note of music, I will never pirate music out of respect for the artists.
    If I like them enough I will just buy it or use a free, legal service.

  11. Mattthew_H - Over a year ago

    Yes. I do.
    Some CD’s are over priced in stores over here, actually, anything musical.
    Games as well. When Far Cry 2 was first released over here, it was $120(AUD)!!
    And that is the same price RE5 is at the moment, too.

    I do relies that it takes them some time to make, although, you don’t need to charge 120 Australian Dollars for it. That is why things like Amazon and Steam are good – but most peoples internet is too slow over here, and very expensive.

    Games, music, and, some movies are over priced.
    If they lowered the price, people would go for the perchest version, over the downloaded – I’d say.

    Basically, everything for us is practicably 10x the amount then Europe and the US pays. :(

    (MT is right BTW)


  12. Mechanotal - Over a year ago

    “I live in Aus and game prices are horrible. like $120
    for a new ps3/xbox360 game horrible, its even worse in New Zealand and probably in other places.”

    Right you are, my friend across the ditch.

  13. freaked (GMC) - Over a year ago

    Haha… the Digg comments are funny. Reminds me two of justifications made by pirates –

    1) Piracy if not theft, theft takes the original, pirace makes a copy
    2)Publishers dont lose mony through piracy – if pirates cant find a torrent for a product, they will probably never buy it…

    1. FredFredrickson - Over a year ago

      I’ve actually seen a lot of people making the same claim as your #1 lately – that “duplication of data isn’t theft.” Piracy is, of course, more accurately described as “duplication and distribution of data,” which is certainly illegal, and rightfully so.

      And this is where the conundrum lies; how do you allow legal customers the freedom to duplicate the data for their own use (something which I personally think should be within the rights of the customer), but prevent them from using this freedom to distribute the file to others as well?

      #2 is equally silly. Let’s say you’re selling a product, and right down the street someone sets up another storefront, but they give away the product for free. To think that making something freely available isn’t going to hurt sales of it elsewhere, even if it’s not easy to quantify the amount of hurt caused, is foolish. People who make this argument are idiots.

  14. dangerous_dave - Over a year ago

    First of all I live in New Zealand and I’m poor enough to not be able to afford $120 for a game (though I have never actually seen this price (possibly due to me avoiding this area of the store for a few years). Usually it’s closer to $100 (or $56.34 in USD) but I don’t try to buy those games. Those games are for people who can afford to buy it for $120, and trade it in for $20 after they finish it. If you can’t afford $120 for a game, it’s not targeted at you (yet). If you wait, it will go down in price. If you buy second hand, you can get it cheaper that full price and not have to wait longer than a week. Buy it second hand from EB Games (as in Electronic Boutique, not EA as in Electronic Arts) and it comes with a guarantee (possibly costing you an extra $3-$5 (NZ)) so that if it doesn’t work you can take it back and get a working copy.

    But in reality, you don’t need the game as soon as it is released. Get a hobby, when you get back you will be a year or two behind in your game playing. So just buy each of the games in turn, still a year or two behind the times, and you will save a lot of money, and be able to afford it. In fact, internet in NZ is either slow or expensive (compared to the rest of the world). Many of the games are cheaper from the store than the bandwidth cost to download it (especially via bit torrent, where you will use 2-3 times the bandwidth of the actual download). And when I make that claim I mean a 2 year old game, not a new game. But all those pirates trying to justify it are probably living in their parents basement, and between the ages of 14 and 40.

    All in all, as has been proven recently, the only way to deal with pirates is to shoot them in the head. Maybe that should be made legal.

    And then again I have views on the pirate bay case (rather than pirates in general) and the NZ law that was recently scrapped but would have required ISPs to police the internet. I’m happy the law was scrapped. The only way to police is to either have a serious breach of privacy, or guilt on accusation (the method the NZ Govt tried to take). I don’t believe either are fair. If it becomes possible to maintain peoples rights while policing piracy, I’m all for it, but it’s not possible yet (and will likely never be).
    As for the pirate bay, I’m a little iffy on my opinion. Long story short, any other way would have screwed over the entertainment industry. It would have been a landmark case and future cases would have referenced it and got away with their charges. I’m happy that they were charged, though I’m not to certain on the legal side of things.

    1. dangerous_dave - Over a year ago

      Screw writing blog posts on my own blog, I’ll just write them here :)

  15. Polystyrene Man - Over a year ago

    I trade a lot of music with friends, but I’ll almost always buy an album if I like it, out of respect for the artists. I just think of it as a good way to demo new music.

    Some of the bands I listen to are actually pretty neutral on the whole piracy thing. When people download music for free, word spreads faster and the fan base expands to countries which might not even sell the music. Then, when these bands go on tour, they find themselves attracting more people and thus generating more revenue.

    So I’m not saying that it’s right to pirate, but (at least in the case of active musical artists) it’s not an entirely bad thing.

    1. FredFredrickson - Over a year ago

      There’s no denying that digital distribution can spark a groundswell of support for bands, especially those preparing to take tours across different countries. But I think that the band should be in control of that, and not the fans.

      As for sharing music with friends, that’s a gray area for me. If you’re just swapping a few albums here and there, much like people in the 80’s / early 90’s swapped mixtapes now and then, I see nothing wrong with it. It’s natural to want to share your love of a band with your friends, and that’s healthy for the artists as well.

      I start to have a problem with this, however, when it moves from a few friends to a few million people. Mass distribution is the crux of the problem.

  16. t3mp3st - Over a year ago

    I ‘own’ two copies of Portal. One non-working one, that I picked up at Wal~Mart. And one working version, by bittorrent.
    My problem is that Steam itself won’t work on my system, and after receiving little to no useful help on the issue from Valve itself (usually a carbon copy response not related to my problem, or an unrelated link), I went the other route. I also have a not so legal version of another unnamed software, because it had unregistered me a dozen times to many.

    All in all though, I attempt to pay for anything I will play/use/watch or listen to, the main exception being things not yet released in the states (anime fansubs, etc)

    I agree entirely though that it’s idiotic for someone to think they entitled to anything for free, whether it sucks or not.

  17. Halo Shg - Over a year ago

    Everything I own is legal. Actually, mostly everything I own is free, (except GM6, which was given to me as a gift, and also why I stick with 6).

    When I first heard of torrents (around 4 years ago), I attempted to download a movie. Turns out my ISP throttles P2P sharing, so it took me a little more than 16 hours. When I viewed it, the quality was crap, and there was a stupid Thai subtitle at the bottom. I later attempted to download Portal. Turns out that didn’t work either. They were just both a waste of my time, and internet bandwidth.

    Now, the only time I will purchase any digital media will be an OS, movie, music, or game (Never PC, always console). The rest of what I own is free.

    Also, read this comic:

    It’s completely true. I once lost ~$250 in DRM protected music, so now I purchase CD’s so I can rip perfect quality music without the DRM.

  18. kc lc - Over a year ago

    Amusing blog entry. I chuckled when I read your explanations — and analogies — about why it’s bad.

    Fred, when someone says music and movies should be free, you should follow the First Rule of babysitting: don’t argue with 3-year olds. Just pat them on the head and put them back in the playpen.

    I was also amused by your sense of pride that you aren’t stealing from your fellow artists any longer. That’s great… but do you expect gratitude? lol…

    If you really want to make amends, then give back some of the money you stole. There’s plenty of private funds that support the arts. Make a donation. Then you’ll REALLY enjoy being a landlubber. ;-)

    1. FredFredrickson - Over a year ago

      Gratitude? No, no, that’s not why I wrote this. I just wanted to show how I can personally relate to the issue of piracy, since I’ve participated in it in the past. I don’t think people should pat me on the back for doing the right thing.

      You’ll be happy to know that I did actually donate money to the arts recently – I sent in a donation to KDVS (UC Davis’ local radio station) last weekend during their pledge drive. I have a good time listening to Joe Frank on that station, and the guys that follow his show are pretty funny sometimes as well. But I didn’t do this because I wanted to post about it; I wouldn’t have said anything about it here if you hadn’t have mentioned donating.

      And yeah, I know I shouldn’t respond to the ignorant rants on Digg… but sometimes, I just can’t help myself. Okay, a lot of times. But wasn’t the internet built primarily for arguing with strangers? :D

  19. xot - Over a year ago

    I used to be a brazen pirate when I was a kid. Today, I look at it a lot differently. As a professional coder and filmmaker, stealing software and movies seems highly hypocritical. I’m not convinced all “piracy” is stealing or evil. I’m a strong proponent of fair-use.

    The way the copyright system has been tampered with since its inception is alarming. Perpetual copyright in the form of term extensions is not illegal, but it does violate the spirit of the law. If things fail to fall into the public domain because these tactics, things like Steamboat Willie’s Mickey Mouse, the privilege of copyright has utterly failed the populace who lose any and all of the societal benefits of copyright.

    Another big problem is DMCA takedown notices which are tantamount to prior restraint. It gives even more power to large IP owners over small IP owners. There is no burden of proof required to get something removed from the internet, just pretend that you own it. It worked for Viacom on YouTube. And it worked for Boeing who removed my work from Turbosquid because my models of their planes looked to much like the real thing — I guess they make picture frames too, because ALL of my models were removed. Absurd.

    Lastly, the framers could not have anticipated the instant devaluation of copyrightable material in the digital age. When it costs nothing to duplicate something, then it loses a lot of its value. When it’s more convenient to steal than to purchase, and when thieves get a better experience and legitimate owners, there is a serious problem with our system. I don’t know what the solution is but I think the copyright is dire straights right now. This century is going to be the age of replication (think Star Trek) and it is going to see a major shakeup in the concept IP. If copyright as it works now exists in the 22nd century, I’ll be shocked (not to mention dead).

    1. FredFredrickson - Over a year ago

      I agree, Xot. Fair use is an important part of the equation, and I think it helps creative industries more than it could ever hurt them. I think I recently read somewhere about a member of the music industry asking YouTube to remove a video of a baby (dancing, maybe?) because their song could be heard in the background. I’m not exactly sure why they felt this would hurt their sales / image, but to me, it just goes to show you that many people in the music industry just don’t get it.

      It’s too bad about TurboSquid and Boeing. It kinda makes me wonder how games like Grand Theft Auto can get away with using car models that are virtually identical to their real-life counterparts seemingly with no licensing cost or disputes.

      As far as copyright length goes, I can see both sides of the argument. It seems only right that anything created by someone should eventually fall into the public domain, long after it has benefited its creator. This is the best course for the good of everyone. But then, I also feel like the times have changed and this sort of law isn’t really applicable to the large franchises that have sprung up over the last century. Wouldn’t Mickey Mouse himself fall into the public domain as well? I’m probably ignoring some important part of the equation here, hehe.

      However they decide to change copyright law, I just hope that we can eventually come to some sort of middle ground between pirates and producers. Piracy is becoming too rampant a crime to ignore, and if things don’t get fixed soon I am afraid that lawmakers, who are second only to the RIAA in being out of touch with technology, will clamp down on the internet and ruin the freedom of the whole thing.

  20. flankattack - Over a year ago

    Well done for posting this in your blog.
    I, too, don’t like piracy.
    However, Piracy is like the Internet – It will never be stopped.

    1. FredFredrickson - Over a year ago

      That’s erroneous thinking, flank. The continuation of piracy isn’t going to stop the internet, but it will stop the internet from being the open, free place it is now.

  21. Aviraldg - Over a year ago

    I’m black beard. No , really. Yesterday I handed my friend about a dozen novels I was done with and on past occasions , we’ve done a lot of similar stuff. And no , I’m not sorry for the [u]millions[/u] of dollars that Archer and Pan Publishing lost due to our little charade. Even after all this , they haven’t knocked on my door yet. I believe they won’t be doing so soon.

    Every industry has to face it , and draw a line between “lending” and “piracy”. Let’s say , I dump a pile of books outside my door and put up a post it note , “These books do [u]not[/u] belong to me. Pick up at your own risk. May be radioactive.” That is in no way illegal. The piratebay guys were doing something similar. Essentially , piracy should not be illegal , but it is and will always be morally wrong , and so it should be stopped , as that’s even more reason for companies (think Redmond) to make things heavily DRM laden. Additionally , if nothing is done soon , governments like The Government , will be making laws that will stop piracy. And our three fundamental freedoms (www.fsf.org). And OSS.

    I’m a student in India. I use Photoshop (pirated) for some lightweight “stuff” I do. As I’ve already told you , I *rarely* pirate stuff. But then , I don’t make a single buck out of my Photoshop work. Then why , I ask should I have to pay Adobe? The solution would be a free edition , fully working , with everything , for people like me. While the people who use Adobe products commercially *will* buy a “proper” product with a commercial license and probably even donate later on. I would happily have bought Photoshop if I could. However , I could only pirate it. At the mere cost of Rs. 50 , which is approximately a dollar (USD).

    1. FredFredrickson - Over a year ago

      Aviraldg, I think you’re looking at this the wrong way. Giving away books that you own is entirely different from copying and distributing music / movies on a wide scale. Whereas the book is just a single copy, and by giving it away you lose your copy, file sharing isn’t the same. You make an exact copy of your file, and instead of giving it to one other person, you are giving it to millions. Surely you can see how that would be different.

      Imagine I have a device that can scan and duplicate anything you give me. You give me an old book, and I run it through the machine, and instantly I have an infinite amount of that book. Suddenly, the book is no longer valuable. Everyone can have a copy for free, and there is no reason to actually go out and buy the book. The book publisher would be very upset, and rightfully so, because his entire business is gone.

  22. Zakreon - Over a year ago

    I sadly have to say that I the merchant’s ships any time I can. But its the only way I can stay connected with one of the greatest joys there is, new software on a computer. And having absolutely no money (practically ever), makes such a task hard to accomplish.

    This isn’t to say I’m die hard take everything. I bought all my Steam games, I have a whole shelf full of boxes and lone discs of old and new games alike, but most of my software is acquired from the bowels of the internet.

    And we even talked about the legality of them being shut down during class today, and their defense makes sense. If some guy buys a Ford and mows down a bunch of little kids, is Ford going to be the one in trouble, or even whoever sold the guy the car? No, its the drivers fault. If anything, its just a lack of moderation by TPB’s staff, and last time I checked, bad moderation isn’t illegal.

    And now I feel bad for 2D Boy…

    1. FredFredrickson - Over a year ago

      I’m not sure I agree with the Ford analogy, Zakreon. I think that more directly, it’s like a guy who owns a shop where people come to meet and swap illegal goods. Sure, it’s not the owner’s fault if someone who happens to be on his property decides to commit a crime; but if the owner knows this is going on and encourages it, then there is some responsibility there. That is exactly why TPB got in trouble – they knowingly enabled people to commit a crime.

      Does that mean that merely putting up a big sign that says “DO NOT POST ILLEGAL STUFF HERE” would have saved them from a guilty verdict? I’m not sure about that… but the lack of any such sign is damning, surely.

  23. kc lc - Over a year ago

    Would such a sign have saved them? I’m not sure either, but they were damned fools NOT to have one. And if they’d made a token effort to periodically purge some illegal links, I doubt their punishment would’ve been so harsh.

    But they were very arrogant, and thumbed their noses at the law. And their defense was little more than a technicality. They didn’t even claim they were unaware of illegal content — only that THEY weren’t the ones making the transfers.

    What an incredibly stupid defense. lol… All the prosecutors had to show, was that TPB had KNOWLEDGE of illegal activity, and they had INTENT to facilitate it. Cased closed.

  24. Zakreon - Over a year ago

    Ok, maybe their defense wasn’t the best. But what about the fact they are going after TPB anyway. There are much worse sites out there, the fact that TPB has a simple search engine just makes it the most obvious. High speed file hosting sites such as Rapidshare and Megaupload easily get away with hosting the illegal files themselves, and the reason they can get away with it is because its a lot harder to find files using it, unless someone gives you a direct link.

    Because TPB is under attack, and not one of the sites with the bulk of the illegality hidden, it’s only encouraging sites to start cutting off public access. If they instead went after a site that was a lot less open, it would show the rest of sites that hiding from the law is harder than they thought, and might even have an impact on the amount of piracy.

    As it is, it doesn’t seem like the case has done anything at all. I seriously doubt anyone will be scared away from pirating, and that other sites will be even touched anytime soon. Its almost as if the government was trying to show it can crack down on Piracy, but even when it seems they won, it was just an act of futility.

  25. kc lc - Over a year ago

    Zakreon, I don’t agree with any of your conclusions. Yes, law enforcement went after the “low hanging fruit” first. Why not? Should they ignore TPB’s massive lawbreaking just because other offenders MAY be worse? That makes no sense.

    Second, those hidden sites you mention almost certainly support LESS piracy by volume. Almost by definition, less-well-known sites will support less piracy than well-known sites.

    Third, what makes you think law enforcement isn’t going after hidden sites? For example, law enforcement routinely busts child-pornography rings that use hidden sites.

    Fourth, how do you conclude the TPB prosecution was futile? The amount of piracy was reduced OVERNIGHT when they unplugged the servers. Of course, this won’t stop some users from finding other ways to steal — but it reduces the volume.

    It’s foolish to expect any single prosecution will eliminate piracy. But every one reduces the volume.

  26. Zakreon - Over a year ago

    I didn’t say they should ignore them, all I’m saying is they should of lined up more than one site to take down at one time, sort of like going for an obvious show-offy drug dealer, which would only make the worst of them go into hiding or start to cover their bases.

    Less piracy by the volume? Trying checking out warez-bb.com
    Its pretty much worse because the download speeds are higher and its much much easier to find what a pirate wants.

    They are going to go after the hidden sites, and I know they always bust one every now and then. But these are always the small ones. I’ve never heard them bust open a huge case and taking out multiple heavily trafficked underground sites.

    It wasn’t even reduced overnight. The site was only down four hours, and even in that time, everyone’s torrents were still downloading. The only people who stopped pirating were those who were going to stop before the case happened.

    Too many sites are heavily linked to other sites, and pirating sites aren’t exempt from this. Even if people found out their favorite pirating site is gone, they will already know about another they can use just as well. The volume is increasing far faster than its decreasing, so something a bit more drastic needs to be done. Otherwise it really is futile.

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