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Censorship Government The Internet

Copyright Demands Push Largest European Usenet Provider Permanently Offline 199

Posted by timothy
from the son-what-does-alt-dot-binary-mean? dept.
First time accepted submitter jonathan1979 writes "Dutch anti-piracy authority BREIN has caused the largest European usenet provider, News-Service.com, to immediately terminate its services as they felt they could not live up to the court order served earlier."
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Copyright Demands Push Largest European Usenet Provider Permanently Offline

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  • power (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nembi (1362389) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @09:32AM (#37964732)
    It always surprises me how much power Brein has. Brein isn't mandated by anyone. It's not "the" authority, it's a self proclaimed authority. They don't work for the government, it's a foundation.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Stellian (673475)

      They are founded by right-holders and have an arsenal of favorable laws. No surprise they can get results.

    • by nepka (2501324)
      BREIN didn't have any power, courts did. And they went there and got results, just like you do in a civilized country.
    • Re:power (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @09:59AM (#37964842)

      This power is not coming from Brein themselves. This is based on a court decision. Simply put they have managed to persuade the court that the law is on their side and the law and copyright legislation is providing the power needed.

      This is obviously an extreme restraint on freedom of speech. The Usenet data is widely and simply available. There is no way to provide an open communication service whilst guaranteeing that nobody using it puts up copyrighted material. On the other hand there are simple technical measures that BREIN could take, such as providing cancels for all of the posts that they claim copyright over and there are simple legal measures they could take to make using those measures reasonable such as guaranteeing to take over the legal liability of the Usenet providers for any mistakes BREIN make (including libel compensation for anyone who's post they incorrectly cancel). The only reason BREIN doesn't want to do this is that they do not want to take on the costs which their demands would cause. The law should tell the court to tell them to stuff off.

      The only solution to this is political. Even if the appeal succeeds the very fact that this judgement could happen at all is going to chill free speech. I hope nobody from the Netherlands will be posting here complaining if they haven't already at least sent a message to their Members of Parliament.

      • Re:power (Score:4, Insightful)

        by nepka (2501324) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @10:06AM (#37964876)
        It's not a free speech matter. Just take a look at Binverse [binverse.com] and Usenext [usenext.com] sites. All they do is advertise download speeds, binaries, "user uploaded content" and blazing fast downloads. It's clear to everyone what files those are and what users will be looking for. Sadly, that is the state of Usenet now. It's just warez. You would had have a good point in the 90's, but now it's just a scheme from Usenet companies to profit from such material. They know that without warez they would not have subscribers.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by nepka (2501324)
          Oh and just as a note, they could still just carry all the other groups. In fact they could carry all groups, but just block binaries. They already have that system in place as they save text posts longer than binaries. This would satisfy BREIN's wishes. Of course, Usenet providers know that they will lose all their pirating customers if they did that, so they decided to just wrap it up and go home (after a good long profitable run).
          • Re:power (Score:5, Insightful)

            by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @10:48AM (#37965050)
            There is no difference between text and binaries to usenet - binaries are just yencoded as text. It's only a convention that binaries be posted in the alt.binaries groups. If those groups were closed down, you'd see binaries appear in the discussion groups.
            • Re:power (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Arlet (29997) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @10:55AM (#37965090)

              It's relatively easy to block binaries in the discussion groups, though.

            • Re:power (Score:4, Interesting)

              by houghi (78078) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @11:00AM (#37965106)

              There is no difference between text and binaries to usenet - binaries are just yencoded as text.

              So there IS a difference.
              So it would be easy to detect and thus blocked. Also many groups do not want binaries in their groups and users have been known to get removed.

              Does this mean there will never ever be somone posting illegal material? No, it would not.

              • Also many groups do not want binaries in their groups and users have been known to get removed.

                How do you remove a user from a distributed system with no central point of control? You might be able to get their upstream provider to cut them off, but they can just find another one pretty easily.

              • by Luckyo (1726890)

                You're splitting hairs here. Unless you want to start parsing every post for "is this a real world in any of world's languages, or potential typo, or misspelling of any world in any of the world's languages or is it a binary encoded as text", as far as any system is concerned there is no difference.

                • by Arlet (29997)

                  Not splitting hairs at all. Despite what you may think, it's pretty easy to make a filter that detects binary content, and it doesn't involve checking all the world's dictionaries.

                  Some simple rules and patterns will do fine.

                  • Reduce character set to 32 - that's 26 letters, plus a handful of numbers and punctuation. Insert spaces at random. Apply capitalisation as grammar appropriate. You're encoding at a little under five bits per byte, so the overhead is a lot worse than yenc, but your binaries would look almost exactly like text to a computer. It'd just lead to months of an arms race, as pirates devise better ways to hide their data.
                    • by Arlet (29997)

                      If you make your message look exactly like regular text, how is your target audience going to find all the parts ?

                      And, if you want to encode a 700 MB CD, how are you going to post thousands of little messages in a short time without getting kicked off the server ?

                  • by kesuki (321456)

                    fairly easy indeed, post one of 100 is real easy to detect... unless you manually generate the encoded text the newsreader/uploader itself tags the content in the headers.

            • by Fnord666 (889225)

              There is no difference between text and binaries to usenet - binaries are just yencoded as text. It's only a convention that binaries be posted in the alt.binaries groups. If those groups were closed down, you'd see binaries appear in the discussion groups.

              It is straightforward to pattern match encoded binaries and automatically cancel those posts via cancelmoose.

            • Since almost all binaries are binhex encoded (may still be a few uuencoded files out there) it's trivially easy to filter binary data from Usenet.

        • Re:power (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Hentes (2461350) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @10:12AM (#37964908)

          If they prosecuted the ones uploading the content, thus committing the crime, you would be right. But holding storage/service providers liable is an attack against free communication.

          • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

            by Arlet (29997)

            If 99% of the "free communication" consists of pirated material, it makes sense to hold the storage/service providers liable.

            • by mcgrew (92797) *

              If that's the case, why aren't liquor companies liable for drunk drivers? Why aren't gunsmiths liable for murders?

              • by Arlet (29997)

                Are you suggesting 99% of all liquor is consumed by drunk drivers ? If so, I'd like to see your references. If not, your analogy doesn't make sense.

                • by Dunbal (464142) *
                  Are YOU suggesting that a recording artist is more seriously harmed by casual downloading than a single person maimed for life by a drunk driver?
                • "Are you suggesting 99% of all liquor is consumed by drunk drivers ?"

                  No. He is suggesting 99% of drunk drivers bought it to liquor companies and that 100% of murderers using guns bought it from a gun-producing company.

                  Which certainly is a good analogy with regards of NNTP and copyright-infringent content (which, by the way, is *not* copyright-infringent content at least on some EU countris, ACTA notwithstanding).

                  • by Arlet (29997)

                    He is suggesting 99% of drunk drivers bought it to liquor companies

                    Which isn't true, since a lot of drunk drivers get cheap beer from the super market, or get drunk at a bar.

                    Even if it were true, it's not all that relevant. You should look at how much of the business of liquor stores doesn't result in drunk driving. You'll find that it's quite a bit, so shutting down liquor stores would harm quite a few legitimate and responsible users of alcoholic beverages.

                    On the other hand, there's a barely anyone using

            • by houghi (78078)

              Or perhaps there is an issue with it being illegal in the first place.

            • Makes sense? No it doesn't. You talk as if it's obvious that piracy is immoral and unethical. Other than the hypothetical harm from lost sales, piracy does no harm. The supposed harm is not the fault of piracy, it is the fault of antiquated, obsolete, and plain wrong ideas of how artists should be compensated. Sharing should never have been criminalized. It's impossible to force society and nature to treat information as if it were material. It isn't. Anytime anyone calls copyright infringement "ste

              • by Arlet (29997)

                Makes sense? No it doesn't. You talk as if it's obvious that piracy is immoral and unethical

                Your, mine, or the judge's opinion on piracy don't matter in this case. The judge simply follows the written law and precedents, and the court's decision makes perfect sense in that context. If you want to argue that the law is wrong, take it up with politicians.

        • That's all every single ISP advertises too. Guess the internet is just a sad scheme to generate profit since the 90's.
        • by kesuki (321456)

          google groups shows you as being wrong http://groups.google.com/groups/dir?hl=en?hl=en& [google.com] if i recall correctly google groups doesn't allow you to download binaries.
          sure your newsfeed might be relegated to binaries, but the google one is quite diverse and has many languages, and plenty of content.

      • I hope nobody from the Netherlands will be posting here complaining if they haven't already at least sent a message to their Members of Parliament.

        The Pirate Party is not in the Dutch Parliament yet, so that may be harder.

      • Re:power (Score:4, Interesting)

        by blackest_k (761565) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @11:12AM (#37965204) Homepage Journal

        The Netherlands seems to have changed from peaceful easy going to extremely right ring.
        From banning products to banning religious practices.

        Hal-ah and Kosher meat is soon to be banned from production in the Netherlands, which seems very much an attack on the Muslim and Jewish communities. Strangely importing of frozen Hal-ah meat is not an issue. Hal-ah meat is of extremely high quality due to the stringent rules of what is fit to be eaten and you don't need to be Jewish or Muslim to appreciate that.

        It's such a far cry from the freedom loving Dutch people who were the most welcoming and friendly that you would find in Europe. Sad to see the about turn

        • Re:power (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Luckyo (1726890) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @11:45AM (#37965438)

          Halal meat isn't higher quality - it's usually lower quality in the West. The myth of it being "higher quality" comes from dark ages, when slaughtering animal without letting the blood drain out of it would cause blood remaining in the body to spoil extremely quickly (as blood is a very fertile soil for bacteria growth). Halal meat, while considered religious was actually started as a tradition for more healthy way of draining blood from the animal to get meat that was healthier to eat due to lower bacterial content.

          Thing is, modern slaughtering techniques extract blood much more efficiently then slitting animal's throat and letting it drain while its heart still beats. As a result, just like halal meat being better quality then dark ages western meat, it's worse quality then modern industrially slaughtered meat. If you hear otherwise, know that you're talking to uninformed person or a liar with a (religious) axe to grind.

          • by CRCulver (715279)
            I don't know about Muslims, but observant Jews have made it clear that they don't accept historical conjectures like "pork was banned because trichinosis was a danger" as a reason to give up the kosher rules. Dietary prescriptions are a spiritual matter, not just the possible result of ancient hygienic norms.
            • If the law of Moses is a spiritual matter to observant Jews, then why isn't the fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah around 30 C.E. also a spiritual matter?
              • by belmolis (702863)
                Because Jews are not of the view that those prophecies were fulfilled, and for that matter, do not agree with Christians as to what the prophecies mean.
              • Probably because we do not believe that Jesus fulfilled any prophecies, and to be honest I have my doubts that the Jesus described in the New Testament ever actually existed. It would be as if I asked you why you do not believe any of the hundreds of apocryphal books that were not canonized by the early Church.
            • by Kjella (173770)

              By all means, have your religious diets. I'm also not going to complain about you being a vegetarian, vegan, nondrinker, diabetic, having food allergies or whatever else diet you're on. If you'll do the same as I eat my pork and drink my beer. Now of course I'd be interested if there was a medical reason I shouldn't eat something or it should be prepared a special way, so it's worth exploring if there's a purpose behind it. But apart from that, I'm not going to limit what I will eat to please some religious

            • by Anonymous Coward

              no one gives a shit about your spirituality. This is about public health.

          • by belmolis (702863)
            That is a dubious ex post facto rationalization for the rules of halal slaughter. Actually, they probably have the same origin as the Jewish rules of shehita, and in neither case are they due to the belief that a carcass drained of blood spoils less quickly than otherwise. Judaism has a fairly clear taboo on blood, which underlies both the rules governing slaughter and the rules surrounding menstruation. Islam appears either to have continued ancient Semitic taboos of the same sort or to have adopted them f
        • by vadim_t (324782)

          The religions practice part of it should be entirely ignored.

          The question should be settled entirely on empirical grounds: Does Halal meat production pass the standards of quality, hygiene, and reduction of suffering? All meat production must be held according to the same standards.

          If Halal meat complies with the minimum requirements, then it should be allowed. If not, it should be banned. Religion should at no point come into it.

          • "Reduction of suffering" can be twisted into an excuse to ban anything. How about requiring vegetarianism by requiring a reduction of suffering to zero? If not, is there an objective measure of how much suffering is OK?
            • by vadim_t (324782)

              "Reduction of suffering" can be twisted into an excuse to ban anything. How about requiring vegetarianism by requiring a reduction of suffering to zero?

              That, however, should not be twisted into an excuse to keep the same bad practices. If it's clear that we can do better, then we should.

              If not, is there an objective measure of how much suffering is OK?

              I would say that as little as possible, and bleeding to death by having the neck slashed sounds very painful.

              Long term I hope for it to be eliminated entirely

              • by belmolis (702863)
                This is a misconception. When properly done, slashing the neck results in immediate loss of consciousness due to the drop in blood pressure in the brain. Death follows within seconds. Proper kosher slaughter is not a matter of slowly sawing away at the neck like you see in videos of Muslim terrorists murdering hostages. I have myself had to kill a crippled deer with a knife, which was a little harder and less efficient since it was only a relatively small hunting knife. Nonetheless, as soon as the carotid a
                • by vadim_t (324782)

                  That disagrees with accounts that suggest that beheading (which is a lot faster than you can manage with a knife) doesn't always result in immediate loss of consciousness.

                  Also, a good deal of the muscles that move the head seem to be positioned in such a way that they are probably severed when the neck is slashed. There may not be much struggling possible at that point.

                  And like I said, religion has absolutely no place in this. The decision should be undertaken exclusively based on research, and not on respe

          • Funny how hunting is not banned:

            http://southholland.angloinfo.com/countries/holland/hunting.asp [angloinfo.com]

            Have you ever shot a living thing? It is not exactly a pain-free way to kill an animal, and I can assure you that hunted meat is not up to the hygiene standards of halal, kosher, or industrial slaughter. I seriously doubt that bans on kosher or halal meat are about health more than about making life hard for Jews and especially Muslims (given what I know of the politics of Holland and that fact that obser
      • Don't you mean 'paid off enough of the legislature'?

    • by tgd (2822) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @10:49AM (#37965054)

      In the US, the BSA is the same way ... its a pseudo-legal extortion outfit.

      Of course, that's the norm in the US for a lot of organizations. The "Better Business Bureau" is another classic example. Commercial extortion was an area Yelp was trying to get into for a long time, too.

      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Sunday November 06, 2011 @11:08AM (#37965162) Homepage Journal

        Despite their best efforts, the BSA promotes open-source software. [cnet.com]

        In 2000, the Business Software Alliance conducted a raid and subsequent audit at the San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based company that turned up a few dozen unlicensed copies of programs. Ball settled for $65,000, plus $35,000 in legal fees. But by then, the BSA, a trade group that helps enforce copyrights and licensing provisions for major business software makers, had put the company on the evening news and featured it in regional ads warning other businesses to monitor their software licenses.

        Humiliated by the experience, Ball told his IT department he wanted Microsoft products out of his business within six months. "I said, 'I don't care if we have to buy 10,000 abacuses,'" recalled Ball, who recently addressed the LinuxWorld trade show. "We won't do business with someone who treats us poorly."

        Ball's IT crew settled on a potpourri of open-source software--Red Hat's version of Linux, the OpenOffice office suite, Mozilla's Web browser--plus a few proprietary applications that couldn't be duplicated by open source. Ball, whose father, Ernie, founded the company, says the transition was a breeze, and since then he's been happy to extol the virtues of open-source software to anyone who asks. He spoke with CNET News.com about his experience.

        • by tgd (2822)

          So extortion is okay, as long as it serves your personal political or social agenda?

          Interesting ...

    • Shutdown Brein instead.
  • The more you tighten your grip, BREIN, the more star systems will slip through your fingers...
    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      The more you tighten your grip, BREIN, the more star systems will slip through your fingers...

      Why are people always using that quote? Aside from the fact it doesn't fit very well here, does anyone remember what happened after Leia said originally?

      I'm not a big Star Wars fan, and even *I* know that it didn't end well...

      Leia: The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

      Tarkin: Not after we demonstrate the power of this station. In a way, you have determined the choice of the planet that will be destroyed first. Since you are reluctant to provide us with

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        Fast forward a little more, and the Death Star is destroyed, and a few sequels later, the Empire loses the war. Your point was?
        • by Dogtanian (588974)

          Fast forward a little more, and the Death Star is destroyed, and a few sequels later, the Empire loses the war. Your point was?

          My point was that Leia's self-assured bravado was pretty much subverted straight away. And most of the time I see it used here, it does tend to come across as a stock geeky wish-fulfilling incantation, especially as it doesn't normally say anything particularly insightful or predictive in the context in which it's used(!)

          • Again, by the end of the film, Tarkin is dead, and the Death Star is destroyed. The party it didn't END well for was Tarkin, Leia got the short end of the stick in the short run, which is kind of standard fare. The captor attacking the captured when the captured taunts him with the uncomfortable truth of their inevitable failure is a pretty common response, but that doesn't change the fact that the hero almost always does what was claimed by the captured and the captor is usually dead or imprisoned. I wi
          • Fast forward a little more, and the Death Star is destroyed, and a few sequels later, the Empire loses the war. Your point was?

            My point was that Leia's self-assured bravado was pretty much subverted straight away. And most of the time I see it used here, it does tend to come across as a stock geeky wish-fulfilling incantation, especially as it doesn't normally say anything particularly insightful or predictive in the context in which it's used(!)

            Also, Leia was lying, the rebel base wasn't on Dantooine. I don't know where this takes the analogy now.

    • by macraig (621737)

      You're a cliched idiot. USENET is a centralized distribution system; how do you propose we form a Rebel Alliance that will recreate that centralized infrastructure without repeating the same series of events? There won't be any of your slippage until the evil BREINish Emperor is out of the way.

    • by Cylix (55374) *

      I'll fetch him. BREIN? Huh. I can get RIAA! We'll have a nightmare with MPAA, have a surprise party for SCO, Monsanto can do the catering, and then we'll have christening for Lodsys! All I have to do is snap my fingers and they'll be here. They're lining up to get here, and do you know why Jack? Should I tell you why? Hmm? Because here, in this world, the bad guys can win!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 06, 2011 @09:55AM (#37964816)

    If USENET were what it used to be, I would be sad about this. But it's just a scheme for companies like this to charge access to pirated goods while claiming that the responsibility lies elsewhere. If people still had useful discussions, I would feel differently but all that's left is the pirated materials.

    • by houghi (78078)

      There are plenty of free non-binaries servers out there where you can still do discussions. Unfortunately many people prefer discussing things one many different sites instead of having the discussions grouped and easy to follow.

      So forums have taken over.

    • by misexistentialist (1537887) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @11:53AM (#37965502)
      Why aren't you blaming the hard drive companies? Everything was better when people only had 1.44 MB of storage!
    • by dkf (304284) <donal.k.fellows@manchester.ac.uk> on Sunday November 06, 2011 @12:21PM (#37965682) Homepage

      If people still had useful discussions, I would feel differently but all that's left is the pirated materials.

      You were subscribed to the wrong groups. There are still useful ones out there, with ordinary discussions happening just as they used to a decade or more ago.

      • by Arlet (29997)

        You were subscribed to the wrong groups

        You can't blame people for only subscribing to the groups they find interesting.

    • by FridayBob (619244)
      You're probably right about the pirated content, but it's not right either for the courts to be allowed to order parts of the Internet to simply be shut down every time the entertainment industry claims that it is being used for copyright infringement and starts making unreasonable demands. Sure, Usenet isn't what it used to be, but nothing on the Internet is the same way is was ten years ago. But Usenet is still there (at least, it was last time I looked), it still works the same way and it's still useful.
  • It requires NSE to finding a way to identify and delete all copyrighted files from its servers, which is practically impossible.

    practically impossible?!? If a human compared every file being uploaded, and already on, just one server to a list of copyrighted material they still wouldn't be able to effect the files munged onto the server from other servers. Everyone involved knew this from the start. Encrypted P2P is the only way to go.

    • by macraig (621737)

      And the instant you encrypt that traffic you're presumed guilty and treated like a criminal. There's no "workaround" here; we have to confront the evil overlords head-on. The revolution is at least 50 years overdue.

      • by sgt scrub (869860)

        And the instant you encrypt that traffic you're presumed guilty and treated like a criminal.

        I would think you would get rate shaped but only by ISP's that are also media companies. eg WarnerBro's Cable. Those ISP's should be boycotted anyways, IMHO. However, there is no way in hell the mafia could take you to court for file sharing without proving what copyrighted files you supposedly shared.

        • Warner Bros. doesn't have anything to do with Time Warner Cable. They sold it off a few years ago

  • News-Service.com responded correct. If they're going to make laws/rulings that make it impractical, just completely do away with the service and let the users, politicians, rights abusers and courts work it out. If it pisses of enough users, the politicians will get involved. But News-Service.com doesn't have to spend a ton of money (and raise prices) to stay out of trouble. And of course, the rights holders will be inconvenienced by this in ways they haven't even thought of yet.

    • by HiThere (15173)

      Not sure about that. Usenet isn't a big part of the net anymore...well, it doesn't seem to be an important part. They may well be able to do this without being inconvenienced.

      OTOH, it's a clear indication that communications need to be non-centralized. That which is centralized is relatively easy to corrupt or destroy. Mesh networks would seem to be indicated, but also mesh services to run on those networks. Ideally *all* centralized services would be replaced.

  • by Just Brew It! (636086) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @11:24AM (#37965274)

    Sad as it may be, this was probably inevitable. I was pretty active on Usenet back in the day (1990s), and look back on that time with a fair bit of nostalgia; but I don't use it any more. Technology has moved on, and Usenet is an anachronism. The last couple of times I poked my nose into the groups I used to frequent, they were full of spam with very little (if any) worthwhile discussion taking place. The poor S/N ratio makes it pretty much unusable.

    Usenet's primary purpose these days seems to be the distribution of spam and illicit copyrighted content. I've wondered how long it would be able to continue flying "under the radar" when many of the other popular file sharing services were getting hammered by the **AA and their henchmen.

    While Usenet is essentially a distributed system, users still require an upstream provider, and these providers are quite vulnerable to legal pressure. It looks like Usenet's day of reckoning may be at hand; the incoming asteroid is on a collision course.

    RIP Usenet.

    • by turbidostato (878842) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @11:53AM (#37965494)

      "Technology has moved on, and Usenet is an anachronism."

      So, please, can you explain to me what's the better technology that arose that made NNTP an anachronism? Because I honestly say I don't know the current technology that is better than NNTP doing its stuff on technical grounds.

      • For most people, web-based services are a better medium for online discussions.

        NNTP was never a particularly good protocol for distributing large binaries; it is unreliable, and places unreasonable storage demands on the NNTP hosting providers, which in turn leads to short retention times for binaries. It was just that all of the alternatives that existed 20 years ago were worse! Modern P2P protocols fill that role now, and do a better job.

    • by marcello_dl (667940) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @11:53AM (#37965500) Homepage Journal

      > Technology has moved on, and Usenet is an anachronism.

      As a distributed content provider subdivided by categories, usenet was better than most centralized systems we have today. It doesn't matter if they are implemented in the cloud: if fb throws you out, who cares how many redundant servers they have.

      Usenet did leave people with too much freedom, so alternatives who removed such control creeped in. Now we are at the stage of megaupload and company that is replacing bittorrent that is replacing p2p. See an involution? You become the dumb terminal again.

      • Well, someone should come up with a P2P protocol to do something similar (discussion threads organized by topic), without needing an upstream provider (other than a bare Internet connection). Essentially a BitTorrent version of NNTP.
    • vulnerable to legal pressure

      What really is obsolete is "law" when corporate entities can achieve their aims by using quasi-legal (i.e. illegal) means. They and their agents thus put all their property and lives outside the protection of society...

      • I'm not defending the corporate entities that backed this. But the fact that their motives and methods are questionable still does not change the fact that Usenet is much less important today than it was 10-15 years ago. Pretty much all of the legitimate use cases for Usenet -- and most of the illegitimate ones as well! -- have already been supplanted by other technologies.

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