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Why Web Pirates Can't Be Touched 402

Posted by Zonk
from the except-by-elliot-ness dept.
gwoodrow writes "Forbes has a brief article about, essentially, the ultimate futility of fighting online pirates. From the article: 'As the world's largest repository of BitTorrent files, ThePirateBay.org helps millions of users around the world share copyrighted movies, music and other files — without paying for them ... That's illegal, of course — at least it is in the U.S. But when Time Warner's (nyse: TWX — news — people ) Warner Bros. studio accused them of breaking U.S. copyright law in 2005, the pirates gleefully reminded the movie company that they didn't live in America, but rather in the land of vikings, reindeer, Aurora Borealis and cute blond girls.' The article also touches on the many YouTube clones and AllofMP3.com."
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Why Web Pirates Can't Be Touched

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  • by u-bend (1095729) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @02:47PM (#19166581) Homepage Journal
    ...there aren't enough experienced online ninjas.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Only if they share Arrrrgh! Rated movies....
    • Are you suggesting that web pirates are so much faster than the current crop of online ninjas that the ninjas can't even touch them?

      Damn. I'm hope you and I don't use the same ISP, because the online ninjas are going to be coming for you.

    • It's because they be got web scurvy!

      Arrr! I told ye to eat your fruit!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      IF you think about it, most of the people who download stuff will not going to buy it anyways.. so are they really loosing money?

      I know lots of people who go to movies all the time so in a sense supporting it then if its one they like they download it for future use.
      I understand loss in business, but most of the people who use torrents are younger and students who couldn't afford or wouldn't buy it anyways.

      On the other hand i think most IT students use software to learn it and better them selfs in the indus
  • Article is flawed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hobbs0 (1055434) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @02:47PM (#19166593)
    It assumes that copyright law around the world will not eventually be in line with U.S. copyright law as per the wishes of the *AA
    • by WED Fan (911325) <akahige&trashmail,net> on Thursday May 17, 2007 @02:55PM (#19166765) Homepage Journal

      Put down the bottle, man. What the hell does Alcoh...al..alcho...boozers anoni...anon..an...dammit, what dows AA have to do with copyw...copir...copyrit...that stuff anyhow?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by VagaStorm (691999)
      You are correct when you say the article is flawed, but not because all will get in line with us copyright laws, but because us sits that dos the same thing are not stopped. As a mater of fact, one of your largest internet companies, Google, basically provides much of the same functionality if you choose to search for only torrent files.....
    • No they don't. (Score:5, Informative)

      by pavon (30274) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:23PM (#19167327)
      Did you RTFA or just the summary? From the article:

      But there are more practical reasons that sites like Alluc.org get away with what they're doing. One is that there are simply too many of them to keep track of. Media companies' lawyers rarely have time to police so many obscure sites, and even when they do, users can always upload the infringing files again. So the flow of copyrighted streaming video continues.
      These particular companies are centered in the US and Forbes stills argues that they will never be able to stomp them out entirely.
    • typo? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by teh_chrizzle (963897) <`gro.notibboh' `ta' `9-llik'> on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:56PM (#19168067) Homepage

      you typed this:

      It assumes that copyright law around the world will not eventually be in line with U.S. copyright law as per the wishes of the *AA

      you probably meant to type this:

      It assumes that copyright law around the world will not eventually be in line with U.S. copyright law thanks to all the money paid to american lawmakers by the *AA

      it's a pretty common mistake, those keys are so close together. i accidentally type that all the time.

    • by owlnation (858981) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:59PM (#19168149)

      It assumes that copyright law around the world will not eventually be in line with U.S. copyright law as per the wishes of the *AA
      No, the article is correct - it's your understanding of international law and macroeconomics that is flawed.

      Firstly, the US's version of copyright is more the exception than the rule.

      Secondly, The *IAA is an American organisation but not all its members are in fact American Corporations. Fair use in Germany (where Sony BMG is based) is much more genuinely fair than in the US, BMG has never managed to change that.

      Thirdly, if you want to examine legal parallels for international Internet law then you should look at the development of international Maritime Law. After millennia of shipping technology being available, and the finest legal minds in history having examined the problems, there is no international standard Maritime Legal system.

      Yes, there is broad agreements and treaties between many countries, but there are just as many disagreements and disputes. There are rogue nations, and there is still real piracy.

      The *IAA needs to understand that while the preposterous US copyright laws protect them in that country, they have already lost the War pretty much most other places. And those of you who are American here, need to wake up and realise that your laws are designed to protect you and your interests, not just your country's business interests. You need to take your country back from the Corporations. Your Founding Fathers were wise people with a pretty good understanding of human nature. 14 years is enough copyright for anyone.

      The DMCA, is a law that steals from most American citizens, and penalizes no-one outside your borders. The DMCA hinders your economy, because without it your *IAA industries would need to adapt to survive - and they do have the means and technology to successfully adapt and survive in a manner that allows you value and fair choice.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by inviolet (797804)

        The DMCA, is a law that steals from most American citizens, and penalizes no-one outside your borders. The DMCA hinders your economy, because without it your *IAA industries would need to adapt to survive - and they do have the means and technology to successfully adapt and survive in a manner that allows you value and fair choice.

        It would if we were still a manufacturing economy, where our primary product was widgets. But you, and most of slashdot it seems, are still living in the past. Nowadays, anyone

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by maxume (22995)
          Your comment would be more interesting if it were true. Western economies have huge information components to them, but they are also incredibly productive in terms or real goods. Germany is the largest exporter of real goods, and the US and China export about the same amount of real goods:

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/evandavis/ 2007/04/the_state_of_trade.html [bbc.co.uk]

          (Much of the reason for this is that politically stable countries with excellent infrastructure are good places to build $500 million facto
        • by Mahjub Sa'aden (1100387) <msaaden@gmail.com> on Thursday May 17, 2007 @05:53PM (#19170433)
          You are completely correct in that information is the new currency. But the United States is wrong in how it deals with that currency.

          Manufacturing has always been plagued by scarcity. For instance, in the US and Canada and Europe, there's a scarcity of cheap labour. So stuff that can be sent overseas is sent overseas. But overseas, there's a scarcity of knowledge in areas of research, development, automation, and quality control. So anything that is heavy on those things either have a heavy knowledge and personnel export, or they are kept at home.

          My background is manufacturing in Canada, and I can tell you this: typical tool and die, mould-makers and other rather simple (comparatively) stuff is going to China and India, and complicated, highly technical, highly automated products like aerospace are staying here. In fact, traditional trades are slowing right down, but aerospace is absolutely booming in Ontario.

          The problem is that information has no such scarcity and flows easily away. Whether this information is media or trade knowledge. While we may have the cultural upper hand right now, and while we may have the automation and quality control upper hand right now, information like that won't take long to get to China and other low-wage regions.

          So in all their wisdom, our lawmakers have collectively decided to stop that flow as best they can. Whether they can stop it is yet to be seen, but from what I can see, it's doomed to fail. Or, put another way, artificial scarcity is just that: artificial and easily overcome.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by visualight (468005)

      It assumes that copyright law around the world will not eventually be in line with U.S. copyright law as per the wishes of the *AA

      I disagree. The author (Andy Greenberg) is assuming, or hoping for anyway, the exact opposite. In fact, that is the point of this article, to raise public awareness of how much money is being lost due to other nations not getting their copyright laws "in line". The hoped for result is more pressure on foreign governments to do something. Think of the article as "lobbying" r

  • by porkmusket (954006) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @02:48PM (#19166615) Homepage
    ...it's because they all listen to MC Hammer. Without DRM, of course.
  • Where? (Score:4, Funny)

    by jimbo3123 (320148) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @02:48PM (#19166621) Homepage
    the land of vikings, reindeer, Aurora Borealis and cute blond girls.'
    North Korea?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      the land of vikings, reindeer, Aurora Borealis and cute blond girls.' North Korea?

      Cute blond girls? North Korea???? You must be an american...
    • by JordanL (886154)
      Wow, "Hans Brix" missed quite a bit if the all the asian people in NK have blonde hair...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2007 @02:50PM (#19166663)
    at least remove the stock ticker info when copying?
  • Just wait (Score:3, Interesting)

    by edizzles (1029108) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @02:52PM (#19166697) Journal
    At some point the US will get pressured by the RMIA which will in turn force there home country to Hand them over to the US, It happened with the blogger from AU.
  • $1.65 tillion? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "the record labels have launched a lawsuit, asking for $150,000 for each stolen file, totaling $1.65 trillion [against allofmp3.com]"

    How on earth can these people justify that figure? It's just insane, I hope the shit goes hard in the bastards
    • Given that you can get a CD on iTunes for -- what -- $10? Seems like they are asking for 15 THOUSAND times more money than they're owed, assuming they're owed anything at all.
    • by thebdj (768618)
      The horrible law [cornell.edu] lets them. Check out 17 USC 504(c)(2). I would like to know who thought $150,000 per infringement was "a good idea".
      • by sconeu (64226)
        I would like to know who thought $150,000 per infringement was "a good idea".

        Hint. Their organization is known by four letters, and it starts with the letters 'R' and 'I', and ends with the letters 'A' and 'A'.
  • huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Vexorian (959249) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @02:56PM (#19166787)

    The pirates were living in the land of vikings
    Shouldn't the vikings do something ?

    ....

    Should I point out thepiratebay doesn't really host any copyrighted material or did that argument get old already?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2007 @02:57PM (#19166815)

    "Printer friendly" version [forbes.com].

    It's also much more eyeball-friendly.

  • That sort of touching! I was thinking either the pirates were very ticklish or there were sanitary issues involved.
  • by SpiritusGladius1517 (929800) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:00PM (#19166881) Homepage Journal
    FTA:
    From June to October 2006 alone, the Recording Industry Association of America says that 11 million songs were downloaded from the site. AllofMP3 claims those sales adhered strictly to Russian law, but that doesn't satisfy the RIAA; the record labels have launched a lawsuit, asking for $150,000 for each stolen file, totaling $1.65 trillion.

    I'm sorry, did they say $1.65 trillion? The RIAA is off their rocker for sure. That much money is going to have to involve a war.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by allscan (1030606)
      Surely two countries have gone to war for less than $1.65 trillion. On a side note, let's not forget that Russia has oil. [and don't call me Shirley]
    • Yea there were days when nations would go to war over just a few billion. But now it has to be at least a trillion.

      Understood as the cost of war itself in in the hundreds of billions a year, so you do risk losing your investment if the war goes on too long.
      • by nelsonal (549144)
        How much of that cost would be paid even during peace time, many of the solders would still be solders, and most of the equipment would still be owned, so I'm not sure that you can attribute all of the costs of war to the war (I think the key question is, "is having a military a sunk cost for a country?").
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by analogheretic (968969)
          A fair part of it would be, no doubt about it, but one of the big costs of a war is getting all that stuff that soldiers need to the war zone. A modern army has a long tail and almost all of that stuff is both heavy and consumable. Add to that the fact that you have to replace equipment at a faster rate (especially in desert environments with fine dust-like sand like Iraq and Saudi Arabia), you're going through a lot more ammo than you would in a peacetime training environment and the fact that you're hav
    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      but that doesn't satisfy the RIAA; the record labels have launched a lawsuit, asking for $150,000 for each stolen file, totaling $1.65 trillion.

      Wait, someone's giving free trillions? I want one, where do I get it? Are there any left? One trillion, come on!

      Damn it :(
    • by rmckeethen (130580) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:28PM (#19167451)

      Interestingly, the estimated GDP of the entire Russian Federation in 2006 was $1.727 trillion using the purchasing parity power scale; nominal GDP is even less at $979 billion in 2006 [1] [wikipedia.org]. Somehow, even if they win, I don't think the RIAA is going to be collecting on that bill anytime soon.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by zullnero (833754)
        It would be hilarious if they did try to collect that 1.65 trillion. I can just imagine it:

        AllOfMp3/PirateBay/et al: "We don't charge anything near that for our service, we just make enough on ad banners to justify paying for most of our server accounts and bandwidth"

        RIAA: "Then we will force you all into servitude for the rest of your lives, and your children's lives!"

        AllOfMp3/PirateBay/et al: "But we're geeks! There's a very high likelihood that we won't ever have kids!"

        RIAA: (thinking) "Hmm...this may
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by coren2000 (788204)
      *pinky finger to mouth*
    • by deblau (68023)
      The RIAA is waging a war, yes?
  • What irony if they had just said... "we live in the Land of the Free, not the U.S."

    (note to those who refer to the USA as America. America is not a country)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by authority69 (747949)

      (note to those who refer to the USA as America. America is not a country)

      Quit being a dumbass. Unless you're also wanting to say that China, Sweden, Germany, Zimbabwe, and Brazil aren't countries either.

      America = United States of America
      China = People's Republic of China
      Sweden = Kingdom of Sweden
      Germany = Federal Republic of Germany
      Zimbabwe = Republic of Zimbabwe
      Brazil = Federative Republic of Brazil

      Do we need to start using every country's official title so your dumb ass can understand us? Get a clue. And just in case you were confused, the common usage of "America

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kozz (7764)

        And just in case you were confused, the common usage of "Americans" refers to citizens of the United States of America, not the entire population of North and South America.

        As much as I want to believe this to be true, I've been told that if you're in Central America or South America and say to a native (who speaks Spanish), "Soy americano", the reply might be, "Sí? Yo también!" Or at least said a Spanish teacher I had who was a native of Colombia.

        I'd be pleased to hear if this was p

        • by fmobus (831767) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @05:19PM (#19169729)

          Being Brazilian, I would say this holds for Spanish-speaking countries in Central/South America: they mostly refer to someone from USA as estadunidense (something like "unitedstatesian"), and to the country itself as Estados Unidos (they don't say "America")

          For us, Portuguese-speaking Brazilians, someone from USA is americano (but some communists-wannabes insist on estadunidense) and the country is Estados Unidos.

          For the same reasons posted elsewhere in this thread, I prefer "american" over "unitedstatesian". Usually there will be enough context to tell USA from the American Continent, e.g. "Americans wages war against Iraq": we ALL know we're talking USA govt here. Another similar example is United Arab Emirates. "Unitedarabs"? "Emiratians"? "Emirarabs"? I'd stick with "Arabs", even thou it would conflict with other Arab nations.

          Language's choices of words sometimes depends more on "soundness" than accurate semantics. That's why we say "South-Korean" instead of "Korean-republicans" and "North-Korean" instead of "Korean-democratic-republicans". I'd also guess there's a good bit confusion regarding demonyms for French Guyana and Guyana, but I lack precise information.

  • by Maliron (1026708)
    Honestly, who is really loosing out on pirating? Some would argue the musicians are. Last I checked Metallica (oops just violated the DRM, thought about them without having a license) STILL makes more money than any pirate. If the group is small all they should care about is that their music is getting more exposure. Some would argue the movie industry. I wont even go into the elevenity billion dollars the studios are still making despite pirating. If they would make more of a effort to get the movie to D
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Myopic (18616)
      when did the entertainment industry stop being about entertainment, and more about milking every cent out of it they can.

      Like political conservatives, you are pining for a bygone era which never existed.
  • by rlp (11898)
    The **AA could try paying danegeld.
  • I'm moving (Score:5, Funny)

    by aegisalpha (58712) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:05PM (#19166991)
    "the pirates gleefully reminded the movie company that they didn't live in America, but rather in the land of vikings, reindeer, Aurora Borealis and cute blond girls."

    I'm moving. Vikings, blonde girls, AND pirates? Irresistible!
  • by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:15PM (#19167203) Journal
    For example:

    The music-selling site AllofMP3.com uses a simpler business model: Base your company in Russia, steal music from American labels and sell it cheaply. AllofMP3 allows users to download full albums for as little as $1
    The whole point of, and the reason the RIAA has not been able to shut it down, is that it is not stealing -- in any sense of the word. Firstly, the owner is not deprived of the work and secondly, AllofMP3 apparently operates within the legal framework of Russia -- in other words, it has a license to run its business model that way. The use of the word stealing is inflammatory.
    • Because "stealing" is illegal in the US, the US govt could make laws to prevent credit card companies from processing transactions involving the purchase of these illegitimate MP3's (allofmp3.com). Didn't the US just pass laws to prevent such transactions for the offshore gambling websites?
      However it's not actually stealing. It's copyright infringement. And unlike gambling, copyright infringement is not illegal.
      That's why it's illegal for me to use my Mastercard to gamble online, but I'm free to use it
      • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @04:06PM (#19168267) Homepage
        However it's not actually stealing. It's copyright infringement.

        No. It's not. In Russia, the law allows allofmp3.com to operate by making use of a compulsory licensing scheme, not unlike what the copyright board wants to foist upon internet radio (though, in that case, the costs are absolutely outrageous, and intended to shut operators down). So, allofmp3.com pays some fee to the Russian copyright whozits, and thus they are allowed to operate legally. Calling this "stealing" or "copyright infringement" is plain and simply wrong, and author of the article is clearly showing their bias by reporting it as such.
  • Thank you! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:17PM (#19167237)
    Thank you Forbes! I didn't know about "sites like Alluc.org, VideoHybrid.com, Peekvid.com, TVlinks.co.uk and YouTVPC.com"!
  • by HollowSky (680312) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:19PM (#19167257)
    Okay, TPB doesn't host any pirated content, it merely points to pirated content. The *AA contends that's still bad. Whatever.... But what about Forbes? They just told me about all these other sites I didn't know about. Forbes just provided me a directory to illegal content. Doesn't that open them up to lawsuits? Journalistic freedoms don't apply when aiding a "crime?"
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      I have to admit that as I read the article was cool I need to check out some of these sites.
  • @#$% stock symbols (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes@NOSPAM.xmsnet.nl> on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:40PM (#19167729)
    WTF is a bloody stock symbol doing in a /. summary?

    But when Time Warner's (nyse: TWX -- news -- people ) Warner Bros. studio accused them...

    It's annoying enough to trip over them when reading mainstream US news sites. Can we please keep them away from Slashdot? If I need the stock symbol for a company I either already know it because I'm an investor and it's my job to be elbow-deep in such arcana, or I can Google for it. If you really want to add it, use a bloody hyperlink instead of making the text unreadable with parenthesised shit.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:41PM (#19167737) Homepage Journal
    as valid.

    not only every country's representatives are presold suck-ups to big buck. surprise, surprise, RIAA member crooks, you might have bought laws in united states for harassing "the people", who are the reason united states was founded for, but, look, your walled does not leverage any weight in many other countries. oh you poor riaa crooks you.
  • by ccherlin (190007) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @05:14PM (#19169637)
    Let's be absolutely, one hundred percent, crystal clear about one thing: Unauthorized copying is not piracy.

    What is piracy? Piracy is when someone takes goods, that are legally protected by property rights, and that are being transported from one place to another, without authorization from the owner of the goods, depriving the owner of those goods from their use and economic value.

    What is unauthorized copying? Unauthorized copying is taking a pattern of information that is legally protected by copyright and is fixed on a physical substrate, and creating a similar or identical pattern of information on another physical substrate, without permission of the copyright holder, in a manner that does not have a statutory exemption from copyright protection. (Whew!)

    As you can see, these things are quite distinct from one another. I don't believe that they are even comparable. The use of the term "Piracy" to describe "Copying a protected work without permission of the copyright owner" is misleading, pejorative and dishonest.

    Whether or not you support actual physical piracy (yarrrr, matey) and whether or not you support unauthorized copying, if you want to have an honest debate you should use correct terminology.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @06:23PM (#19170969) Homepage Journal
    They are 'online enablers' at the most. We can debate all day long if its right to 'copy', but all these people are doing are offering LINKS... nothing more, nothing less.

    Thats like holding Ford liable beacuse they sell cars, that could be used in a hold up, or to run someone over.
  • As the world's largest repository of BitTorrent files
    I'll admit I'm 79% clueless on BitTorrent, but aren't "the files" distributed among the peers (seeders and leachers)? Are they talking about the torrent metadata files or the torrents?

    [TBP] helps millions of users around the world share copyrighted movies, music and other files--without paying for them ... TPB serves as a massive worldwide hub for copyright infringement ... sites like [TPB] show that the Web will always offer safe harbors for clever copyright violators ... the growing guerrilla army of YouTube clones ... a simpler business model: Base your company in Russia, steal music from American labels and sell it cheaply
    Wow. Tough crowd. Andy Greenburg, the author, seems pretty hard-nosed about indicting file sharers, and standing up for the media companies who guard their abysmal content like dung beatles defending their turd balls. Understandable, since Forbes itself is a media company [cnn.com]. No danger of slanted opinions, conflict of interest, or journalistic integrity issues here folks; move along, move along.

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