May 26, 2005

Revenge of the Sith, indeed. It seems that even those holding massive sway with The Force still need the G-men (and women).

And they're pretty efficient. So, what with all the discussion and bandying about of piracy, internet piracy etc., of late, is this just a show biut, will government start to raid more servers? Will they ever realise the existence of newsgroups and that Napster of yesteryear was the tip of the iceberg? I'd be interested in the monkey viewpoints on this.

  • One monkey's viewpoint: Theft is a crime. The authorities prosecute crimes. That's all that's happening here.
  • rocket, but the site was simply providing links to torrent files. They did not have a single bit from the actual movie file. I say this is a case of guns don't kill people, people kill people. Same reason I don't like many things in thd DMCA. This site provides a service, some chose to abuse it.
  • The Motion Picture Association, an industry group, helped with the investigation, ICE said. Replace helped with with masterminded. BitTorrent is really NOT the way to go for downloading movies anymore, especially crap like this. Easily tracked and logged , mandatory upload, immense popularity, etc. What kind of foot-shooting fool would have DL'd that crappy copy NOW, with that P2P, without knowing what the hell was going on in the background? Isn't a few dollars for the movie tix worth the peace of mind that Lucas isn't going to try mashing you into bits? Hasn't the whole 'I got this shitty copy a full 45 seconds before it was in the theatres' jerk-off session worn off yet? People, read up on your favorite software. Lots. Get ProtoWall or at least PeerGuardian (only from! Spyware has creeped into the open source installers on other sites). They both block ads and spyware as an added bonus. They don't keep 100% of baddies off the computer, but like a condom, there's at least a layer that they have to get through.
  • "but the site was simply providing links to torrent files. They did not have a single bit from the actual movie file." They are facilitating a crime. That's still a crime. I mean, I don't agree that P2P is killing the movie industry, crappy movies are. But that's the angle.
  • Hahaha, America! Corporate Greed™ pwns Law Enforcement™.
  • the site was simply providing links to torrent files. They did not have a single bit from the actual movie file Charles Manson never personally killed anybody, nor was he even present at any of the murders, yet his ass rots in jail. Would you have him set free? This is not about "corporate greed" any more than police investigating a theft of your property is about your greed. You can't justify stealing just because you're stealing from millionaires.
  • Rocket, to have theft, there must be an actual removal of property. There must be real, measurable loss. If I break into Universal's warehouse and steal $1,000 in CDs from it, then I have indeed stolen $1,000 in property. Universal no longer possesses it, I do. On the other hand, if I distribute a torrent of a Universal CD, what has Universal *actually* lost? Absolutely nothing. They still have every last CD that they had at the beginning of the day. They might lose a few *potential* sales. But that's all they are. A potentiality. That's not a provable loss because, again, NOTHING was actually stolen. And that is why just saying "File sharing is theft!" and refusing to budge is ludicrous. When someone breaks into Skywalker Ranch and rips Darth Beard off, THAT is theft. But distributing downloaded copies of a movie? No one is deprived of anything. Some people are merely viewing material which they are not authorized to. This is a far less serious crime, and it's a rather simple exercise in logic to justify why. File Sharing is NOT theft. It is copyright infringement. These are different concepts. Period.
  • Couldn't loss of future or potental income be considered theft? Or at least more serious then simple copyright infringement?
  • Property is not limited to hard tangible things. Information, in all its forms, is property. I define theft as taking anything of value without paying for it. That includes tangible items, information, or services. Anyone who provides a service deserves to be paid for that service, wouldn't you agree? And creating a movie for the entertainment of others is a service with real, measurable value. Viewing it without paying for it is theft.
  • Two words, techsmith: Prove it. Give me provable losses, and I'll say, yes, Joe Q. Pirate has deprived you of that amount. But say, "Well, I might have gotten X..." and we're playing a whole different game since, at the other end, you *might* have gotten nothing whatsoever. It's an unprovable guess. Otherwise, what's to stop you from saying, "I might have lost fifty million trillion dollars! AND HE OWES IT TO ME!"
  • Rocket, I'm terribly sorry that your definition of theft is not the same as everyone else's, but that's really not our problem. My somehow stealing a service - let's say, pirating a Satellite feed - does not in any way inhibit the provider's ability to provide the service to anyone else. Radio waves bounce through the air for anyone and everyone to intercept. If I decode them illegally, then yes I am accessing information I should not, and this is a minor crime - BUT IT IS NOT THEFT. I have deprived the provider of absolutely nothing that they would have otherwise possessed. That the provider deserves to be paid for their service is an utterly irrelevant assertion that, while true, has no bearing whatsoever on the matter at hand. That is why Copyright Infringment is a crime as well - but a separate, CIVIL crime to be litigated by the copyright holder, not the feds. (and that, in turn, is why it is wrong for the government to get involved in this at all)
  • If the provider of that service would otherwise receive a fee from you, and you're connecting to that service without paying said fee, I fail to understand how that isn't stealing. If someone provides a service, they are giving their time and effort in return for money, just like a waiter or a cleaner. If a recording company records a song for a band, they are providing studio time, production costs, whathaveyou, before the music even makes it to a CD. If you don't pay for the music that they haven't made freely available, you're causing a (small) loss. I don't see the provider's need to be paid as irrelevant. Everything these days costs money. Everyone has to make a living. If someone was using your wireless connection and downloading information at your expense, wouldn't you at least be annoyed? Music companies, the MPAA, whoever, are blowing the issue out of proportion and they have enough money to throw around that they can essentially make the government enforce their demands, or at least try to. But surely there's some small element of truth in their assertions of theft. Call me a hypocrite -- I do download the occasional TV episode/mp3 without feeling a lot of guilt, but I see rocket88's point all the same.
  • It's not hypocritical at all...I download music all the time, but I at least acknowledge that I'm committing a crime, and depriving the copyright owner of their rightful recompense. I'm not making a moral judgement on information piracy...I'm just saying that the copyright holders and the feds have every right to prosecute. ...and doing so without using all-caps phrases or ending my points with the word "period"
  • maybe there should be a new category to describe this type of crime? it's not the same as physical theft, and it does not share the normal characteristics of intellectual property theft (in that people generally are not reselling or benefiting monetarily from the copied ip). people are simply sharing... loss of potential revenue is also shaky ground; i might download and watch a movie that i would never pay to see. there's a strong aspect of freeloading/free-riding in this; i suppose standard tragedy of the commons arguments might apply, but that brings up the quesion of lost potential revenue again.
  • Intellectual property is property. If the owner of that property charges a fee to access it, and you access it without paying the fee, that is theft. Just because you can't hold it in your hand doesn't make it magically not theft.
  • Theft, to me, is taking something that doesn't belong to you without permission to do so. You aren't really taking anything when you download a file off the Internet. You're making a copy of it for youself. I suppose you could argue that you're taking "the right to copy it" without permission. But then why not call it copyright infringement -- it seems closer to what it is? Anyway, does it really matter what we call it, so long as we understand the difference? That said, I admit that, like roryk, I'm suspicious of the "potential profit" argument. It's falacious to suggest, as the entertainment industries do, that every shared song or film translates into a lost sale. Some do, I'm sure, but at least in my case, it's lead to more CD purchases (I don't download movies, but I don't go to theaters, either). So I don't feel guilty about it. On preview: mct, remember that artists don't own the ideas themselves, or even the application of them (i.e. patents). They have been granted the exclusive right to copy and distribute them (for a limited time). I think this is the difference InnocentBystander wants to emphasize.
  • IT IS COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT THE PEOPLE WHO OWN THESE COPYRIGHTS BOUGHT THEM AND THEIR DESIRE TO CONTROL THEM IS UNDERSTANDABLE. It doesn't matter if it doesn't cost them money. It doesn't matter what fair use laws say, since they were originally designed to protect lossy copying among friends. It doesn't matter if nobody makes money off of it. It doesn't matter if you wouldn't have bought it anyway. It doesn't matter the technology can be used for good - it isn't. It doesn't matter that the MPAA and RIAA are greedy, behind the times morons, who use money and influence to create laws to protect their interests. If you copy movies, you are fucking up. If you get charged 2000 dollars for a single infringement (and it happens all the time) yes, that is totally ridiculous, but please don't act surprised. Movie and music pirates, of whom I count myself as one, do nothing to promote freedom on the internet. Please use Freenet for such things - the idea of using any centralized, unencrypted network for this shit at this point is simply retarded. The sad thing is that it really does take a friend being sued for a few Gs for people to stop doing this. So in summary: 1. Understand that even if not wrong, under some amazingly liberal reading of law, copyright infringement is incredibly stupid and likely to put you at the mercy of the organisations that see you as an enemy. 2. If you still want to watch your retarded movies (and I saw ROTS, it was fucking terrible) sponsor and use a network which cannot be monitored 3. If you are so stupid as to set up a BT site DO IT IN ANOTHER COUNTRY YOU MORONS.
  • And a word about artists: despite the fact that the United States in 2005 is an artistic wasteland, with even unsigned bands making a completely sound-alike homogenous product, artists make the choice to sell their copyrights. They know that they're getting fucked. They are id-i-ots. If you want music go see it live, the artist might actually see some of that money. Having said this: Congress is clueless Usians are clueless The RIAA/MPAA and the people they represent are evil The Kleptones are fucking awesome.
  • Nurse, thorazine for that man.
  • You know I'm with Rocket on this one. I might be a little more anal about it though, since I won't even download music etc. I'm an old fashioned girlie: I like to have actual legal hard copies on my shelves, and know that some of my hard earned cash has gone to all the correct people. I work for a small company which provides a commissioned, professional service; every so often a rare client objects to paying or shouts about the costs involved. In a very small number of cases they commission work and then refuse to pay after completion. This in my view is theft; it makes our jobs harder to do, it makes things more expensive for everyone else, and it puts jobs on the line (mine included). It puts at risk expansion and improvement of the available service. Having worked in low-income regions in the past, I have generally found that those with money are more likely to screw us over than those without - it's not lack of funds which ticks me, it's dishonesty and deception. So. Stealing music and movies wot you didne' pay for is just high tech theft, copyright infringement if you want to use that term, but in my eyes the latter is exactly the same thing. Just because the illegal copy is in digital bits, rather than dodgy hard-copy DVD make in Eurasia, doesn't make it any less illegal. That's my three ha'pence worth, sorry if I disturbed your sleep
  • They have no idea what they are talking about. "Digital movies are about 50 times larger than music files, which makes them more cumbersome to download. New technologies like BitTorrent, however, and increased high-speed Internet use are closing the gap." 50 times larger? More like 200 (if your average song is 3MB) - often larger - .avi movies are usually 700 MB, unless they are DVD images, in which case they are usually 4.8 GB. A little research on some bittorrent sites would have prevented this gross misreporting.
  • Just because you can't hold it in your hand doesn't make it magically not theft. My understanding is that this is correct: it's the relevant statutes that dictate whether a specific act is or is not a crime. Mere copyright infringement is not generally a criminal act in the US, but rather provides a private right of action, or so I understand. US statutes do set out criminal provisions for copyright infringement in certain circumstances however. I note that "copyright infringement" does not exist as a crime at common law (that is, apart from specific statutes) in UK/US/Australia/NZ law. Unlike, for example, crimes of theft of physical property, which have been a part of the common law (law declared by the Courts) of England since "time immemorial". However, you were talking about what morally constitutes theft, not what legally constitutes a crime.
  • I think that illegal downloading isn't going to go away any time soon. The only thing I could see that would stem the tide would be if music (and the eventual movie) download services like iTunes adopted a "pay for it and then do what you damn well please with it" attitude. If I buy a CD, I can listen to it anywhere, play it on any computer, rip copies of it to give to my friends, etc. (Person-to-person copying is still in the gray area of OK, like taping a TV show for a buddy... they just don't want you sharing anonymously with the entire world.) If I download a song, I've paid for it (often more per individual song than I would have paid had I just purchased it on a used CD) and yet it isn't mine. I can only do a limited number of things with it. I can only play it on certain devices, a limited number of computers, can't change the format as I see fit to put it on whatever type of media or filetype is required by the newest music device that I purchase. I can't take it back to the store and sell it for cash, and nobody can buy it from me used. I often can't even give it away to a buddy if I wish to do so (without some sort of computer or device authorization hassle). In short, I paid for it, but I have no rights to it. Think about it in terms of physical, tangible property, because that's how the MPAA/RIAA insist on presenting it. My property, which I legally purchased, is not really mine. Do the right thing - pay for the property in question - and you are voluntarily giving up rights you would otherwise have if you purchased the exact same property in a different format. Until that changes, until they stop trying to dictate how we use objects we have legally paid for and should by all means be allowed to use as we wish, there will be a lot of people trying to skirt the system by any means necessary, whether it be black Sharpie marker on the CD to disable copy protection, or me waiting for somebody (anybody!) to re-seed the Fantastic Plastic Machine album that none of my stupid corporate-owned local record stores see fit to carry. The bastards.