The Pirate Bay – Guilt by association?

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The plot thickens in the war against file sharing. A minor victory is claimed by the ever expanding AA acronym bodies protecting the intellectual profits of Corporate Media after The Pirate Bay was found guilty of assisting file sharers in obtaining copyright material illegally. This battle will continue in perpetuity while the legal fraternity collect extra pocket money determining the fate of Internet users who are only exercising their democratic right to break “The Law”. Although the funny thing is that this battle is unprecedented by The Law and the whole fiasco is akin to a scene out of Kafka’s – The Trial . The Trial essentially tells the seemingly absurd story where a trial is instigated upon Josef K for a crime he claims he did not commit, which cannot be even named and in all likely hood is mere fabrication by some hidden bureaucracy, much the same way as the administrators of The Pirate Bay are now facing – a lengthy, drawn out trial that is based upon the absurd assumption that a service provider should be held accountable for the guilt of a Society that uses its services.

The bureaucracy in the file sharing stakes is a conglomerate media empire that wishes to hold a generation to ransom by bearing its financial weight on a popular file sharing service that by its very definition, popularity, holds a mass market of criminals that The Law is yet to prosecute and who are in a de facto trial alongside The Pirate bay. Big Media is unwilling to adjust to evolutionary change and persists in maintaining its innocence, just like Josef K, even though the masses have judged them guilty and handed down a sentence by stealing their profitable intellectual property.

The Pirate Bay is just a face in the media circus, which the media empire wants to create. It is becoming increasingly clear that corporate media are in their last throws and dying a death due to their inability to adapt. Hence why they are waging the Intellectual Property war against the Internet, to combat their stake in profits that they see are being lost to teenagers who long ago came to the realisation that the product they’re selling is not as valuable as much as business would have them believe it is. The old school is over. No longer will a generation purchase CDs or DVDs at exorbitant prices or support an industry that leaves a bitter taste with its excess. The victory against The Pirate Bay will not change the business of sharing culture with one’s peers, piracy is older than the Recording and Motion Picture Industry and it has now evolved into something greater than the MPAA or RIAA can ever be. The masses want a product that industry is unable to provide, so the only alternative is piracy via file sharing. As the old saying goes, vote with your wallet and that is just what happened.

The evolution began with electronic consumables, tape decks and CD burners which allowed easy sharing with friends. A decade later with the proliferation of broadband internet and by virtue of its very nature, sharing has just converged into a grand globalised structure, where mass distribution and sharing is possible in never before seen numbers, the sharing of one’s and zeros has been as easy. Napster was born in the days of dial up and after its death, which ironically was in effect due to a similar scenario we have today, a new protocol assumed the role of obsolete technology. Bit torrent emerged to be the leading choice in the file sharing market. So in similar fashion, big media wants a repeat of the nineties et al Napster, Kazaa and persists in going after service providers, hoping they’ll influence other providers by sending a message of fear, uncertainty and doubt. But realistically is this strategy really going to increase profit margins and the bottom line for Big Media? And is it merely just selling propaganda via fear? It’s extraordinary because they seem very much focussed on targeting indexing type websites rather than the servers and PC’s that store the copyrighted material. Apart from Bit Torrent there are possibly 1000’s of terabytes of data stored in places like alt.binaries and RapidShare and the ilk. Others on the Web have pointed out that Google is more or less an indexing service where one can find any manner of illegal material to download, but perhaps having a centralised sever like The Pirate Bay is what peeves them off because of the ease by which one can searh and click to retrieve a file. But it certainly doesn’t do Google or Yahoo any good.

The problem is that corporate media failed to make a move back in the nineties when they had a chance and instead tried to fuck the consumer over just one more time, for old times sake perhaps, by giving them grief when purchasing the product they wanted. They wanted music and movies that was convenient to search and download, not filled with DRM, a product they could swap onto whatever device they chose, when they chose and how ever many times they chose, at a price that was reasonable. Did the Media Empire gives us the product we wanted. NO! Only now do they try and compete with services that have been gaining loyal users for over a decade. Now they want to slap the faces of consumers  further by taking a torrent tracking site down just for indexing the files people want to share with friends. And how can strangers be friends? Well isn’t that we are now? One great big happy globalised family of friends?

So now that the game is lost and ultimately piracy is here to stay, what can Big Media do? Well stop all the silly litigation, you’re certainly not going to win fans by insulting them. What is it they say, If you can’t beat em join em. Why not use advertising to boost your *cough* cash strapped industry. What if Sony BMG, EMI, Warner Bros etc etc released their catalogue at dirt cheap prices and no DRM at bit rates that are decent.  Invite advertisers to place ads on your websites. Maybe have a users view a ten second ad before downloading? Have added bonus content, offer stuff for free. Set up community forums where artists sometimes interact with fans? Most of all accept that some people won’t buy your wares, what ever you do. Listen to the fans. They’re the ones that line your pockets.

Category : Rants | Blog

ISP = Internet Sharing Police

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War on music piracy – the heading on SMH glares at defiant downloaders as they scoff at the pipe dream of the MAFIAA. I first saw that acronym, MAFIAA on Whirlpool and I laughed at the similarity to mafia, which is probably not a chance occurrence. Initially I thought the poster who kept throwing this acronym around was taking the piss but then I Googled it and low and behold…Music And Film Industry Association of America™ or mafia…oops MAFIAA. Anyway the gist of this war is that ISP’s may be required to implement a three strikes and you’re out policy if the Rudd Government legislates a sort of Internet Sharing Police based upon a British model that according the SMH article is in the process of being implemented.

Fair enough downloading copyrighted material is bad and illegal and all that but getting Internet Service Providers to police the immorality of its users is going a little too far. First the Government is scheming to have our Internet content filtered and now it has its sights on further transforming ISP’s into the thought police. What next? Newspeak? The whole idea is admirable and noble but has prohibition ever been effective in curbing the flow of illegality? If BitTorrent is tapped and sharers are forced underground to possible encrypted networks, then what? Do ISP’s then data mine and infiltrate the hidden tunnels exposing some teenager to the great evil that s/he is committing. Although there is possibly no fool proof anonymous tunnel at the moment, it’s not to say some geek won’t try and create one, a constant cat and mouse game that will only spiral the cost of telecommunications higher than they already are.

What happens if a truly encrypted network is created, that is anonymous, will it not then be virtually impossible to tap by ISP’s? Will the Governement call upon the equivalent of cyber martial law? The sad part is, if such a network is created then all sorts of immorality will flow into it, music sharing will be the least of its worries.

Perhaps the greatest thing of concern here is not the infringement of intellectual property but how it opens the door to a loss of intellectual freedom. Having the Government intrude upon our thoughts, wishing to control what we hear and see is beginning to resemble the rise of a totalitarian state under the guise of intellectual property management and child safety. It’s of little surprise that the Government and legislative assembly is found bending their knees before the people that control public opinion, the media. A smaller surprise that it has found a way to impose a level of information control with an ISP filter while appealing to the fears of unwary parents. I’m probably being a little paranoid but the internet represents the final frontier of freedom and with the flagrant lies and misinformation that our leaders have feed us in recent years, it may be our only recourse to what is true and the gradual reigning in of this freedom is somewhat alarming.

Category : Rants | Blog