Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Government The Internet Patents News

Bittorrent Creator A Digital Pirate? 386

Posted by Zonk
from the arrrr-lawsuits-off-the-port-bow! dept.
Alex_Ionescu writes "According to an article in Wired, the old webpage of Bram Cohen contained a manifesto stating that his goal for creating software was to 'Commit Digital Piracy'. Cohen argues that the quote is taken out of context and represents a parody. He argues having written it in 1999, 2 years before even coming up with Bittorrent. You can find the archived copy of his site at archive.org. From the article: "Cohen has never publicly encouraged piracy, and he has consistently maintained that he wrote BitTorrent as a legitimate file-distribution tool. That would seem to make him and his budding company, BitTorrent, safe under the Grokster ruling. But legal experts worry the newly discovered manifesto extolling 'digital piracy' could put him on less certain legal ground."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Bittorrent Creator A Digital Pirate?

Comments Filter:
  • by garcia (6573) * on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:23PM (#12962240) Homepage
    Cohen said he's unhappy that the Supreme Court's decision is forcing him to confront something he wrote more than five years ago.
    "The way they talked about intent is so vague that it can cause people to pay attention to things that they wrote years and years ago, having nothing to do with what they're doing right now," Cohen said.


    If the President of the United States, the Governor of California, and various other politicians can hold political office regardless of what they did in their past (I won't even go into the difference between actually *doing* something illegal and just writing about it), then there should be no reason why this should even be a minor concern for Cohen or BitTorrent.

    My views since 2002 have changed drastically on numerous subjects including ones I speak about in daily conversation, on Slashdot, and elsewhere. My views in 1999 were even more radically and misguided. I was in my early 20s, in college, and intoxicated (in some form) about 99% of the time. I certainly do not want to be held to what I said then and I certainly don't want to be held to what I say right now 5 years from now. Lots of life changing events occur in a short time now (moving to different areas of the country, encountering new people with different viewpoints, access to more and different information from many different angles).

    It disappoints me that this is even an issue at all. If we are going to make a huge deal out this then I really think that we should have taken more time to consider what ass smacking and coke snorting does to our future. Yet, the problem is that people on that level get held to a different standard than the rest of us. Sadly, the levels are exactly the opposite of what they should be.
    • He should just say it was a typo and he meant digital privacy ;-)

      hey I just thought something, if he is now at risk of arrest for saying something what happened to free speech (if it ever existed).
      • hey I just thought something, if he is now at risk of arrest for saying something what happened to free speech

        Soon people will be afraid to even speak for fear of being locked up... remember when people used to laugh about the old USSR and how people there would be locked up for speaking about something, remember nazi germany when neighbours would just "vanish" overnight, never to be seen again. American citizens, this is why the rest of the world has problems with your country. Go on, mod me a trol

        • American citizens, this is why the rest of the world has problems with your country. Go on, mod me a troll, but you know... its really true.

          I love my country; I love what America stands for.

          However, the direction we (speaking from a US-centric position) are going is not very wise, and so I would have to agree with you--it is true. Now, I'm probably going to be modded down for what I am about to say, but I think that a lot of it is relevant to this case. Let's review a few things that have happened in

        • I think you're a few years behind. People DO get locked up, vanish, and persecuted in the United States because of their use of Constitutional Rights in this country.

          For the past year now, I have personally been fighting against the State of Wyoming. Last summer the State kidnapped our children when I had a heart attack. Their main focal point against me was that I held Libertarian veiws, advocated free software (and was thus a violator of federal laws such as the DMCA because I enticed others to comm

      • Yeah, I mean everyone knows we have trouble with this [slashdot.org]
      • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Friday July 01, 2005 @02:15PM (#12962776) Journal

        He should just say it was a typo and he meant digital privacy ;-)

        I may be missing something here but what does it matter what he said? Bittorrent is what it is independently of his expressed beliefs. Is he going to be prosecuted for what he did or what he thought?
    • If the President of the United States, the Governor of California, and various other politicians can hold political office regardless of what they did in their past, then there should be no reason why this should even be a minor concern for Cohen or BitTorrent.

      Arguably, there's nothing preventing Mr. Cohen from continuing his work. And in fact, it's still likely that a court would find in his favor considering the materials that have been published relevant to the case. (Which is to say, any and all promotional materials about BitTorrent.) The key is that Mr. Cohen is now a public figure, and just like Presidents and Senators who get their pasts drug out as a "reward" for being in the public eye, journalists are also dragging out Mr. Cohen's past.

      Just sit tight. This entire thing will blow over and life will be fine and dandy again. Unfortunately, Mr. Cohen will need to stay on his guard about what he says or does, because there are quite a few people who'd like to see him shut down even though a lot of us users DO use BT for legal purposes. :-/
    • by Anonymous Coward
      If the President of the United States, the Governor of California, and various other politicians can hold political office regardless of what they did in their past...

      and later

      I was in my early 20s, in college, and intoxicated (in some form) about 99% of the time.

      Are you trying to say you are a good candidate for president?
    • I certainly do not want to be held to what I said then and I certainly don't want to be held to what I say right now 5 years from now.

      Welcome to life, where people will always try to find something you did in the past to put you in a bad situation.

      And this will happen every day...
    • It disappoints me that this is even an issue at all.
      It is indeed very sad. Looking at a quote from the article:

      But von Lohmann said if the Motion Picture Association of America wanted to go after Cohen, it would have done it a long time ago.

      But it looks perfectly in line with the current 'bittorrent is evil' campaign. Isn't this a perfect way to spread FUD about bittorent?

    • What it tells me is that the 'advocating piracy' standard is perilously close to being a violation of the first amendment.

    • by databyss (586137) on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:57PM (#12962611) Homepage Journal
      I admit it! There was a time in my life when I used to shit on myself.

      Also, there was a time when I was illiterate!

      I feel so much better that I got that off my chest. Feel free to prosecute me as you see fit!
    • >I really think that we should have taken more time to consider what ass smacking and coke snorting does to our future...

      I recommend pasting this to your bathroom mirror.
    • I certainly do not want to be held to what I said then and I certainly don't want to be held to what I say right now 5 years from now

      Hmmm. Eight years ago this August, I said a couple of words that changed my life and that of at least one other person. A number of people would be very unhappy were I to say that I didn't want to be held to them anymore.

      The words? 'I do.'

  • by Willie_the_Wimp (128267) * <fred...garvin@@@gmail...com> on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:23PM (#12962241)
    This really is just more evidence of how careful you have to be about what you post on the Internet. Many of us first started out on the Internet back in college; back when we had the skills to post and code, but lacked the wisdom to self-moderate.

    Current Internet younglings, take note. Be prepared to defend everything you ever put on a web page. I still cringe when I read some of the stuff I posted 10 years ago...

    Willie
    • I look at the things I posted 10+ years ago and am surprised that I don't come off as stupid as I was back then. Fortunately, I lost a lot of email from those days where the same wasn't necessarily true. =)
    • by idontgno (624372) on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:29PM (#12962311) Journal
      It goes much farther back than this new-fangled web thing. This is ancient Usenet wisdom. I still find my flames and n00bness from the early 1980s mortifying, but there they are, courtesy of Google News. (Sheesh. Google news f's up everything good about Deja News, but they can't lose the embarrassing skeltons in my Usenet closet.)

      I found an interesting article [jdlasica.com] from a journalistic perspective about the persistence of stuff YOU disseminate on the net.

    • by MarkByers (770551)
      Be prepared to defend everything you ever put on a web page.

      I hope it's also OK to just admit that you were naive and wrong. You are allowed to learn new things in ten years, and change your opinions. At least I would hope so.
    • by savagedome (742194) on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:46PM (#12962501)
      I will quote Bill Maher.

      No one has their shit together at 22. Now, outside of the basic fairness of placing George Bush in with all the other young men of his era who found a way to avoid Vietnam, I don't really care if our president showed up for all his National Guard jumping jacks in 1973. I don't care that there's evidence that John Kerry once very nearly met Jane Fonda.

      We've all made mistakes when young and chasing a buzz. Bush blew off his calisthenics. Saddam gassed his own people. I bought the John and Yoko album where they just farted for an hour into a tape recorder!

      The phrase, "youthful indiscretions" is redundant, because how many discreet young people do you know? No, the people you need to worry about are not the one who sowed their wild oats, but the ones who didn't. Michael Jackson had to wait until he was an adult to have a childhood, and I think we see how well that turned out.

      Go back far enough in any great man's life and you will eventually get to the stuff he did or said before he was great or even a man. Don King started out life in Cleveland as a corrupt, murderous thug, but then - okay, bad example.

      But the point remains, trying to define a person's current self by their past self is the worst kind of "gotcha." Our mistakes from the past are just that: mistakes. And they were necessary to make in order to become the wiser person we became.

      You never got drunk and pissed yourself? Or sold drugs to school children? Or panicked when you couldn't get it up at a bachelor party and killed a hooker?

      Hey, if only hindsight could come without having to mess up first. And believe me, I have the platform shoes to prove that one. But to exploit youthful mistakes for political gain is, well, let's just say, when you get older, you might look back and regret it.
    • by SatanicPuppy (611928) <Satanicpuppy AT gmail DOT com> on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:59PM (#12962626) Journal
      Heh. I learned that lesson a long time ago. I wrote for this college newspaper, pretty radical, and we had this huge "Fuck the Police" issue in which I had the cover story (excessive use of force, yadda yadda yadda, I was very indignant), and in which I ranted and raved like a preacher in a whorehouse.

      About 2 months later I was working late in the office, and a silent alarm tripped elsewhere in the building. So the cops show up, and who is the only person around? Me, sitting in a office with a full stack of 500 anti-cop newspapers sitting on a desk beside me.

      Bad Scene. But a very good lesson in the value of discression and circumspection, as well as the value of never ever having any illegal substances in your car, office, or clothes.

    • So, what kind of country are you now that you have to watch what you say to avoid legal persecution?

  • Bram is screwed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nokilli (759129) on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:23PM (#12962246)
    It isn't just this quote that's the problem, it's the new search engine [bittorrent.com] too.

    Together with the Grokster ruling -- and all happening within such a short interval -- he's just too likely of a target now. Once big media realizes that knocking down the Grokster's does NOTHING to stem the tide of wares being traded via BT, they have to go after Bram.

    It really sucks that a guy who's given us so much is going to be made to suffer so, but it looks to be damn near inevitable.

    Time to donate to the very-soon-to-be-needed legal defense fund. [bittorrent.com]
    • Looks like his search engine is no more evil than google's, it indexes everything alike. Try searching for go_open or any other media legally distributed on bittorrent.
    • I wonder how much he'd need. Remember, Hollywood/MPAA/RIAA organizations have *MILLIONS* of dollars and they won't hesitate to throw down whatever cash they need to make their point.

      Unless Warren Buffet himself decides that he's going to throw down a huge pile of cash, is it even realistic to expect that a legal defense fund is going to be much help?

      Example: I had an old ISP sue me for breach of contract (they lied. Fuck you, o1 [o1.com]) but because I could not afford to defend myself in court, next thing I knew
  • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:27PM (#12962282) Journal
    From Bram Cohen's website [bitconjurer.org]:
    [This was written in late 1999, and is a parody of a cypherpunk's manifesto, which struck me as very dishonest manifesto claiming to solely be concerned about privacy. This screed is written in the exaggerated voice of a 'prototypical' cypherpunk, making much more direct declarations of his intent.]

    I am a technological activist. I have a political agenda. I am in favor of basic human rights: to free speech, to use any information and technology, to purchase and use recreational drugs, to enjoy and purchase so-called 'vices', to be free of intruders, and to privacy.

    I further my goals with technology. I build systems to disseminate information, commit digital piracy, synthesize drugs, maintain untrusted contacts, purchase anonymously, and secure machines and homes. I release my code and writings freely, and publish all of my ideas early to make them unpatentable.

    Technology is not a panacea. I refuse to work on technology to track users, analyze usage patterns, watermark information, censor, detect drug use, or eavesdrop. I am not naive enough to think any of those technologies could enable a 'compromise'.

    Despite my emphasis on technology, I do not view laws as inherently evil. My goals are political ones, even if my techniques are not. The only way to fundamentally succeed is by changing existing laws. If I rejected all help from the political arena I would inevitably fail.

    -Bram Cohen

    ***

    Assuming Cohen actually ascribed to this parody of the "'prototypical' cypherpunk manifesto", it sounds like bittorrent would be an expression of free speech and a form of political protest to me.

    It will be interesting to say the least to see what effect the decision has on both innovation in general and the subsequent to be expected abuses by [insert your favorite copyright holder here].
  • by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:27PM (#12962285)

    Go ahead, RIAA / MPAA . . . shut down BitTorrent. It doesn't matter, 'cuz in less than a week, a better, more efficient and more anonymous P2P tech will get adopted.

    They just don't get it, or are unwilling to concede that they get it -- the genie is out of the bottle, forever.

    • They just don't get it, or are unwilling to concede that they get it -- the genie is out of the bottle, forever.

      They don't need to understand or even pretend to understand. They have already proven that by doing what they do they can curb piracy and turn it into a profit.

      What they don't understand is that they are just going to continue to push it further and further underground out of their reach. While mom, pop, and grandmom won't get into a civil suit with them they will find themselves scratching t
    • Go ahead, RIAA / MPAA . . . shut down BitTorrent.

      And how do you propose they do that. Read this [bittorrent.com] once and you should be able to write a tracker and client from scratch. BitTorrent is disgustingly simple. It's like banning the use of wheels since they help people get away from the police faster.
  • So what (Score:5, Insightful)

    by skurk (78980) * on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:27PM (#12962287) Homepage Journal
    > his goal for creating software was to 'Commit Digital Piracy'
    >(...) written it in 1999


    My first thought was "so what".

    I said a lot of things 6 years ago that I disagree with today.

    What, aren't we allowed to state our opinions anymore without having the fear of being haunted by the past?
    • Because words mean things? If I say 'I hate group xxx', then guess what... that group is proably not going to like me if they find out I said it.

      Free speech does not mean speech has no reprecussions.
    • Re:So what (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Deinhard (644412) on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:42PM (#12962460)
      What, aren't we allowed to state our opinions anymore without having the fear of being haunted by the past?

      For the majority of us, this is the case. However, when someone comes or is brought into the public spotlight, that light becomes very narrowly focused.

      Through the years there have been uncounted examples of public figures and politicians that have had their careers cut short because someone with a diametrically opposed agenda when searching for something to use against them. If you look hard enough, you'll find something to use against all of us.

      In most cases, it seems, most of these seemingly innocuous comments are racially or politically motivated. Someone once had negative feelings toward a particular race (and made those feelings public) or perhaps supported a particular cause that was different than the cause de jure. Whether that person's comments were made as a joke or he/she has simply changed their attitude toward a cause, someone will use those past comments against him.

      I have no idea if Cohen actually meant these comments in jest or as satirical comment, but you can rest (un)assured) that they will be used against him.
      • you can rest (un)assured) that they will be used against him.

        Oh great! So how long until everyone gets Mirandized at birth?
    • What, aren't we allowed to state our opinions anymore without having the fear of being haunted by the past?

      Of course not, at least not in America. Just ask Robert Byrd and Trent Lott.

  • by mcc (14761)
    So express yourself in public at some point, and if the thing you expressed was "wrong" then someday the law will apply differently to you.

    What kind of message does this send?
  • Look at the page in question. You honestly want to tell me that the same person who designed a sophisticated piece of software like BitTorrent would make such a crappy page like that?

    Anything on the internet should really be taken with a grain of salt. Further proof that you should be careful what you say on the internet because it will probably come around to bite you in the ass someday. It kind of reminds me of the people who jokingly talk about blowing schools up. They're not serious, but at some point

    • This is 1999... that background is the contemprary equivalent to having your entire site done in flash and sliding menus. (Would have taken up the same % of bandwidth, been just as hard to implement and would have stood out just as much...)
    • > You honestly want to tell me that the same person who designed a sophisticated
      > piece of software like BitTorrent would make such a crappy page like that?

      Click on the upper right link "Brams page". His "Current Project" back then
      already was BitTorrent. No matter how long it took him to complete it, his
      digital piracy comment was dead on.

    • You honestly want to tell me that the same person who designed a sophisticated piece of software like BitTorrent would make such a crappy page like that?

      Of course, bright developers often make crappy web page designers. It isn't at all surprising that someone who could come up with a sophisticated piece of software and new protocol would have a horrible looking website.

      Looking at it from the other direction would you assume that someone who can design a beautiful easy to navigate website would also be

  • Promotion to Adjourn (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:28PM (#12962302) Homepage Journal
    The Supreme Court decided Grokster is liable for its users criminal abuses, because Grokster "promoted" criminal abuse. They decided that Grokster promoted abuse, because someone in Grokster sent someone else in Grokster a memo saying that they needed abuse for sufficient traffic, and because Grokster targeted old Napster users to use Grokster. So the standards for "promotion" are very vague, a very low bar: "intent" and "benefit" are apparently required, but "action" is not necessarily required.

    The same court decided that the government cannot "promote" a religion, by hanging a paper copy of the 10 Commandments in a frame in a courthouse. But a 5 ton rock carving of the 10 Commandments on a courthouse lawn is not "promotion".

    I suppose that when you're a million years old, your word is literally the law, and have a job for life, the meaning of "promotion" might be a little beyond your grasp.
    • by MatD (895409)
      Maybe you should actually read up on the SCOTUS decisions before you start talking smack about them. Action is required in the facilitation of privacy. There is a paragraph in decision of the grokster case that explicitly states that grokster and streamcast 'actively' promoted piracy. It then goes on to give examples of what they did. There really shouldn't be any suprises in that decision. As for the 10 commandments issue; the display of the 10 commandments inside the courthouse (I can't remember wher
      • You're the smackhead, with all your mamby-pamby talk about "intent". Show me where in the decision [akamaitech.net] there's evidence of an explicit public statement by Grokster saying "use Grokster to violate copyright". There's only the "intent" and "expectation of benefit" that I mentioned. From which the court conjectures that advertising to Napster users equates to advertising copyright violation. Well, the new Napster advertises to old Napster users, but that's not advertising copyright violation.

        So let's have it: whe
  • by Speare (84249) on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:29PM (#12962307) Homepage Journal
    It's a sad day when a software developer needs to keep their private writings as squeaky clean as a federal candidate. You're inviting lawsuits by cracking jokes, you're in danger of losing your job for mentioning something six years ago, you're seen as corrupt on the say-so of some usenet posting.

    And yet, look at the pasts of our political leaders. Look at the pasts of our corporate masters. Look at the reprehensible things which are all shrugged off as "well, those times were different."

    • At least the crooked politicians can get blowjobs in the oval office.
    • If you haven't seen this [merkeylaw.com] already.

      32. Defendant slashdot.org is an far-right wing Internet news website that posts libelous and defamatory content and is used by Open Source Community members to anonymously post hate speech, death threats, threats to murder and promotes and advocates acts of domestic terrorism within the United States. The address and location of defendants is believed to be within the State of California, but is unknown at the present time.

      So yeah, Slashdot already has invited a lawsuit b

  • by Jugalator (259273) on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:30PM (#12962320) Journal
    ... despite it's a ridiculous claim, and obviously written with tongue-in-cheek. As Cohen has said in his defense -- does this mean that anything you say can be used against you years later regardless of what context it was said in now, and what context it's used in now? He wasn't even working on BitTorrent when he wrote that.

    "I further my goals with technology. I build systems to disseminate information, commit digital piracy, synthesize drugs, maintain untrusted contacts, purchase anonymously, and secure machines and homes. I release my code and writings freely, and publish all of my ideas early to make them unpatentable."

    If they're going to take his commitment to digital piracy as an indication of what he intended to do with BT, does that mean BT's purpose is also to synthesize drugs? Does it even mean he have plans to start a production plant to synthesize drugs?

    Seriously, this case is so hollow that it stinks, but the scary part is that lawyers can make these claims and be taken seriously, and even that there's a real risk of him getting busted for it.

    Bah...
  • by MECC (8478) * on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:30PM (#12962324)
    Sadly, it may not matter when he made the statement, or what his original intention was. All they have to do is go after him; even if they lose, they win. That the mere stigma of accusation itself is damaging may motivate them to go after him to establish to others that even if they can't win in a lawsuit, the MPAA can hurt anyone thinking of building decentralize file distribution systems to discourage future such efforts. I hope I'm wrong.

  • Of course if you RTFA and follow the link Bram's Page http://web.archive.org/web/20010710021553/ [archive.org]http://b itconjurer.org/index.html> then you will see that this Technological Activist's manifesto is under the heading Musings, an obvious joke...
  • Stated Intent (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ray Radlein (711289) on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:32PM (#12962349) Homepage
    However, there is no evidence that he ever "marketed" Bittorrent as a tool for piracy, and considerable evidence that he has done quite the opposite. This is a non-starter, in terms of the Grokster ruling.

    Which is not to say that someone might try to use it against him, of course; it's just that the relevant facts in this case are miles removed from those in the Grokster case.
    • Piracy is rampant thanks to TCP/IP and HTTP. Although it was pretty bad when we were using Ymodem and Zmodem too. Perhaps allowing computers to have writable diskettes and modems is the problem?

      I wonder if there are any no-name brand computers that say "Download free music with your XYZ Computer". I could have sworn I've heard the sales people on QVC say you can download free music if you buy the computer.
  • a cut copy from the site.

    A Cypherpunk's Manifesto

    by Eric Hughes

    Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy. A private matter is something one doesn't want the whole world to know, but a secret matter is something one doesn't want anybody to know. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world.

    If two parties have some sort of dealings, then each has a memory of their interaction. Each party can speak about their own memory of this; how could any
  • by Tx (96709)
    Just goes to show, if you're going to post anything risky, post as Anonymous Coward ;).
  • McCarthyism (Score:2, Funny)

    by hosecoat (877680)
    Have you or have you not, ever been a pirate?
  • "I am... in favor of... intruders... to privacy."

    "I... track users... not naive enough to think..."

    "Despite my emphasis on... evil... my goals are... fundamentally... changing existing laws..."
  • Legally speaking, Cohen is as guilty as a gun manufacturer. He simply provided the way to others commit a crime. If people using BitTorrent are supposed to make unautorized copies of copyrighted material, then people having a gun are supposed to kill.

    But the reality is much more complex then justice would like it to be. RIAA and MPAA are lobbying so heavily that Cohen will be considered guilty and will pay for crimes that he didn't commited. In RIAA/MPAA conception he must sue the users.

  • I am not a native English speaker but I wanted to know how else the statement...[...]"...his goal for creating software was to 'Commit Digital Piracy..." can be interpreted.
  • by ameoba (173803)
    I thought Wired was on "our side". Why are they dragging this shit out of the past?
  • by Foolomon (855512) on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:45PM (#12962492) Homepage
    Rumor has it that he originally wanted to call it Bitt-ARRRRRR-ent.
  • If all that's needed to keep bittorrent viable is a squeaky-clean developer to create a bt protocol client, I'm sure the market will provide. Hell, there are now plenty of "legitimate" corporations (Blizzard, for starters - who now employs Cohen) who have enough vested commerical interest in bt to fund such development, even if Cohen were forced out of what he started.
  • by defile (1059) on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:56PM (#12962590) Homepage Journal

    No one has a sense of humor?

    No one can get subtlety?

    Must every word we write be played back in monotone, completely out of context, character, to see if it can be used against us?

    Anyone who understands hacker culture, or Bram's personality, would read that and laugh.

    God, I probably have something just as ridiculous saved somewhere. In fact, I know I do, and I know someone else got ahold of it and spruced it up with Photoshop and made it look like a piece of communist propaganda that I'm just about ready to print out a million copies of. I come across it every so often and laugh, and anyone who knows me would laugh if they saw it.

    And a court would say that clearly this is the mind of a terrorist.

    Fuck.

  • by Eagle'sFlight (693778) on Friday July 01, 2005 @01:56PM (#12962591) Homepage
    Bram Cohen produces software. (Without illegal. intent.)
    People use software to perform illegal acts.

    Smith and Wesson produces guns.(Without illegal. intent.)
    People use guns to perform illegal acts.

    GM produces cars. (Without illegal. intent.)
    People use cars to perform illegal acts.


    Why is it the leadership that the people have selected to run our country seems to be forgetting that PEOPLE PERFORM ILLEGAL ACTS.
    Not software
    Not guns
    Not cars
    Not Corporations
    PEOPLE.

    It's time the Judicial system starting hold PEOPLE accountable for what they do not the item they used to do it.

    Welcome to America, everyday closer to a Socialist Republic. :p
    • This is what I've been saying for HOW long now? People are always trying to get out of trouble and the consiquences for their actions. Especially if they're doing something illegal, not just wrong.

      People need to learn to accept that what they do and say MUST be held accountable. For good or bad results. YOU CANNOT ASSUME YOU WON'T GET CAUGHT FOR SOMETHING!

      HAt's off to you, Eagle'sFlight
    • by dabadab (126782) on Friday July 01, 2005 @03:35PM (#12963855)
      "Welcome to America, everyday closer to a Socialist Republic."

      Actually, America (or more precisely, the USA) get farther and farther away from being a Socialist Republic. In a socialist state, there would be no big difference between people's wealth, there would be a hospitable state with free schools, free health care, etc (this was true even of the so-called socialist states of the former Eastern Block) - clearly, the USA is not heading this way.
      Also, a republic is a state where the power is exercised by the people by some means (and not, for example, by corporates).
      So, I think, today's USA is becoming more and more the antithesis of a Socialist Republic.
    • by debest (471937) on Friday July 01, 2005 @03:39PM (#12963886)
      Easy answer as to why there is a difference in your examples (why Bram will likely be hit much harder than either a gun or car manufacturer):
      BitTorrent - product made by an individual, victimizes large corporations.

      Smith & Wesson / GM - products made by large corporations, victimizes individuals.

      See the difference?
  • Don't you just hate when this happens?
  • Seems to me, mateys, that Dave Barry has done much more to encourage online piracy [talklikeapirate.com], arr...
  • by airship (242862) on Friday July 01, 2005 @02:10PM (#12962715) Homepage
    Hear that knocking? It's the Thought Police at your door. You'd better be ready with $100,000 in the bank to pay lawyers to help you defend every statement you've ever made, anywhere, anytime in your life. It doesn't matter if you're guilty or not. They'll come after you anyway, and it's going to cost years of your life and more money than you have to defend yourself against their allegations. Remember McCarthy? He's baaaack!
    BTW, everything I've ever said, in print, in daily speech, or on the Web, has been a 'parody' or 'satire' of some kind. I didn't really mean it. Honest. I love Big Brother.

  • by EvanKai (218260) on Friday July 01, 2005 @02:20PM (#12962857) Homepage
    I saw Bram speak at SXSW last year. I know Cohen has Asperger's Syndrome, but Cohen didn't seem like he cared about anything.

    He didn't care what people downloaded because mainstream music and films were a waste of time. He didn't want to talk about what should or shouldn't happen with RIAA and MPAA suits.

    My favorite quote, "I don't like computers... they're really annoying to deal with... they never work right... I have to use them for work, but if I could avoid them, I would...".

    This guy is a software developer with the ability to fix the things he doesn't like... but doesn't.

    When asked what he did care about, he responds that he's a programmer and he likes doing "networking stuff", but when someone who helped develop the UDP standard asked what he would change, he says he doesn't care.

    You can watch the interview for yourself here...

    http://server1.sxsw.com/sxsw2/2005_coverage/bram_c ohen.lo.mp4 [sxsw.com]

  • slashdot will be reponsible if some lunatic goes and kills Billy G because many say that "bill gates must die" or something?

    (legal notice: I'm _NOT_ endorsing this extremist action! It's just a HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE. And no this isn't sarcasm either. I swear.)

    Sheesh. The current legal system is screwed and must change (NO, i am _NOT_ endorsing terrorism against juries!

    ARGH! This is insane. I'm outta here. (no, i'm _NOT_ committing nor endorsing suicide!

    *head explodes* <- Legal note: This is a JOKE! I'm... ah whatever.
  • Only in America... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by derEikopf (624124) on Friday July 01, 2005 @02:23PM (#12962899)
    Only in America can you get prosecuted for not knowing the future.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      Who modded this as "insightful"?

      First of all, he's *not* being prosecuted.

      Secondly, things you say in the past can come back to haunt you in the future. Duh. Haven't you ever seen an election? They go back 30 years looking for dirt on candidates. (Given, Cohen's not running for office, but it's still a 'duh' issue.) This applies in every nation on Earth, not "only in America."
  • by DVant (792111) on Friday July 01, 2005 @09:38PM (#12966623)
    Bram Cohen writes a beautiful piece of social bandwidth-balancing software and of course the music and film industry tears him down like any other thing that could vaguely perceivably harm their bottom line.

    His software is a significant step forward in helping to balance information load-sharing. Distribution of information will never move forward if big business is allowed to clamp down on clever individuals.

    There's my rant.

"Don't talk to me about disclaimers! I invented disclaimers!" -- The Censored Hacker

Working...