Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Day Piracy Suffered a Massive Stroke

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Just because you're a pirate, does that make you a pirate?

I'm talking about the recent court ruling in the Pirate Bay piracy case. If you've been keeping tabs, then you'll know that the four founding rulers of the file sharing network were recently found guilty by the Stockholm District court. Their crime: "assisting making available copyright material."


First of all, that's a structurally unsound sentence. Secondly, you can't prosecute a bunch of friends for lending dvds or cd to each other - which is what the Pirate Bay and other file-sharing networks are doing, except that they're working with digital media. This CNN article does a good job of showing us just what the stand of the Pirate Bay is on copyright material - that it's free for everybody, whether you like it or not.

But that didn't stop the big entertainment companies from clamping down on the Pirate Bay, though. But the question in my mind is whether or not the ability to find digital media on the web is tantamount to intellectual theft or not.

Because you know. That'll make me a pirate. Or anybody who's tried looking for a song via Kazaa or Soulseek. Rapidshare users or people who subscribe to aren't any different. Because see, if you follow the line of reasoning saying that the acquisition of digital media via the Internet without paying for it prior to your acquisition is tantamount to piracy, then pretty much any Internet user can be considered a thief.

I like the point that Magnus Eriksson pointed out: file sharing is only hurting the prospective returns of the entertainment industry. He also makes sense when he says that any so-called anti-piracy efforts online is equivalent to the prosecution of an individual's right to information - which the Internet vastly revolutionized.

Okay, in a way I'm an artist, and if I ever get published and I see my works spreading on the net as a hastily scanned pdf file, I'll probably hate it as well. But that's the way the ball bounces on the age of the Internet, I think. So it's either you find a way to better protect digital media with a copyright, or you let it slide and just carry on with your work, because you might be able to complain (and indict!) a couple of people responsible for a website, but you can't disillusion the millions of users who believe in what that website stands for.

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