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Anti-Piracy PI Talks About Building Cases Against File-Sharers 109

An anonymous reader writes "Torrent Freak has an interesting interview with a former private investigator who was hired to track people who pirated software and movies. He relates some of the tactics used to make evidence more appealing to police, the media and lawmakers. He said, 'We discussed the formula for extrapolating the potential street value earnings of "laboratories" and we were instructed to count all blank discs in our seizure figures as if they were potential product. Mr. Gane also explained that the increased loss approximation figures were derived from all forms of impacts on decreasing cinema patronage right through to the farmer who grows the corn for popping.' Regarding the head of AFACT, the article notes, 'Gane understood that the media was an essential tool towards AFACT's goal of getting tougher copyright legislation in place. And for this purpose, it was a good idea to bend the truth a bit.'"
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Anti-Piracy PI Talks About Building Cases Against File-Sharers

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  • Has this guy considered a career with the DEA?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Wow what an asshole this guy is.

      • by Moryath ( 553296 )

        No kidding.

        When the phrase "bend the truth" passes your lips as a PI, you should be fired and then barred by the courts from ever working as a PI again, and any lawyer who ever has to examine or cross-examine you should simply start out by asking why you're barred from working as a PI.

        End of discussion.

        What this guy did was completely disgusting, wholly reprehensible, and in any sane legal system would count as perjury.

        • bending the truth in this case would be to falsify evidence, which proves just about how much legalism is worth, i don't think however anyone would be surprised by this, still good it gets openly admitted ofcourse
  • I knew there was something odd about the fact that Limewire was claimed to have caused damage in excess of global GDP []. Now we have a name for it ;)

  • When you exaggerate and lie it comes back to bite you in the ass when the truth comes out. Does anyone sympathize with the record companies anymore?
    • Unfortunately yes.
    • by yacc143 ( 975862 )

      Well, not exactly, the truth is always written by the winner, and the truth that looser had, well, is forgotten.

      "The Truth" is always something linked to the point of view. (E.g. there are enough situations where obviously all parties or none of them are responsible for something, still the parties claim it's the fault of the others. In a subjective view, their truth is certainly correct, and in an objective view you cannot easily cast the situation either as a simple 2-state boolean affair)

      • Try this: []

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        "Understanding is a three edged sword: your side, their side, and the truth." -- J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5

        I like this quote, even if it's from a sci-fi - so often it goes into a binary mode where one side is right and the other is wrong. Very often both sides are exaggerating and using spurious logic and arguments, even if one side is fundamentally right. A complete misinterpretation is that the truth is always in the middle and that flat-earthers and round-earthers be given equal weight

        • by atisss ( 1661313 )

          Not true, Radiohead earned more for pay-what-you-want sales of "In Rainbows" than from their previous album: []

          And there was option to pay 0.00

        • by DinDaddy ( 1168147 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @10:33AM (#37598852)

          I see some pretty ludicrous claims on the other side too. Ask anyone who's tried to make a living on donations how that "pay if you like it" model is working out for them.

          Show me a single person who has claimed artists could completely support themselves with a "pay if you like it model". People opposing the the industry point out that you have to find a new way of monetizing music, because charging X$ for a "copy" of the music won't work anymore when that copy can be made for essentially nothing. They need to add value in some other form.

          The whole "pay if you like it" exercise is to demonstrate that the claim of the RIAA that "non one will pay for music if they can get it for free" is false, that many still will pay. Most of the bands trying this exercise also have other purchase options, like including signed physical copies, access to limited concert tickets, or other things that a fan will care about.

          Poor attempt to make the two sides out as equally unreasonable.

    • Does anyone sympathize with the record companies anymore?

      Well, yes.
      The recording industry "invested" over $16 million in Washington, D.C. last year, and naturally expects a return from everyone who accepted the 30 silver shekels.

      And everyone here who buys from the record companies or their subsidiaries like Blizzard.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by erroneus ( 253617 )

      I have an unpopular comment to make about this:

      "The Holocaust." Not saying the Jewish people of europe weren't treated horribly -- they were -- it was probably among the largest crimes against humanity the world has ever seen. But many of the details are either lies or huge exaggerations and the holocaust museums and organizations are acknowledging this as they remove various claims from their piles of evidence.

      When I see crap like this, I see more of the same. The victims wanted to see the people who di

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        The only problem with this is that Germans like to keep meticulous records.

        They even liked to make movies about their exploits. Why not? They had no shame.

        You could probably sit down in the German archives and verify every so-called "exaggeration". The American media industries probably aren't so studious.

        • Yes, Germans kept great records. And in those cases, I believe they are accurate. But there have been and are claims that are not supported by these records.

      • One difference is that the claims of exaggeration by Jews is a lie made up by Holocaust deniers like you. The estimates of the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust wasn't made by the Jews, it was made by the war historians from still-available evidence.

        The exaggerations by the record companies were made by the record companies and are based on "lost sales" with no evidence.

        • Actually, no. The exaggerations and lies I speak of are the ones acknowledged by the current holocaust historians and museums.

          In case you didn't know, many claims and historical points have been removed from those sources.

          Go back and read what I wrote. If there is "denial" going on, it's by the official holocaust historians themselves... in which case that doesn't make it denial, but acknowledgement of false or otherwise unsupportable claims.

        • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
          You think that you are arguing against the OP when in fact, you support his statement. He acknowledges the Holocaust, and explicitly states "it was probably among the largest crimes against humanity the world has ever seen", and yet you call him a "Holocaust denier" because he sees inconsistencies in specific details. Your refusal to even acknowledge what the OP said in your knee jerk reaction of name calling an affirmation of the OP's statement.
        • Show the class where the OP claimed that "the number of Jews killed was exaggerated" was made by the Jews, or that the OP denies the holocaust.
  • Note that these are the allegations of an angry fired employee, and while I could easily believe everything what he said it's in no way proof.

    • by yacc143 ( 975862 )

      Well, proof enough for the BSA to audit companies. Such an audit in itself is a punishment, even if it's not declared so, because you need to provide the resources to handle the audit on your side. (Same applies to an IRS audit btw, where the handling of it can cost a bundle in working hours of your tax advisor/accountant to answer the audit).

      So by the standard the IP industry uses, it's more than enough to raid their offices, bother their employees, wreak havoc on them. Does not matter to much if it's true

      • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

        I believe you misunderstood me. I was saying that there is no proof about AFACT forging evidence other than the word of an employee, who, at least as he claims, participated in all of these shady businesses before being fired. Not the most trustworthy source.

  • Creative accounting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @04:54AM (#37596848)

    Years ago, I decided to get rid of my car and go by bicycle for personal transportation. For fun, I tried to evaluate the impact of my choice on the economy as a whole, taking into account, amongst other things:

    - On the pro side: lesser oil consumption on my part, lesser burden on the national insurance system because I'm healthier, supporting the bicycle industry by purchasing bike parts, etc...

    - On the con side: hurting automobile sales, which in turn contributes to layoffs, unemployment, hurting indirect jobs, etc...

    I found that I had to make wild assumptions to come up with figures, and the further I went from the immediate impact of my decision, the dicier it was to come up with believable figures. But what I also found is that I could come up with an impressive and very serious-looking spreadsheet sheet that either proved that I had caused millions in damage to the economy, or vice-versa, depending on the premises I had chosen.

    In short, you can make figures say anything, and even if they're BS, if they're presented in a synthetic, professional way, they still look credible.

    • lesser oil consumption on my part

      More oil consumption for the war machine.

      lesser burden on the national insurance system because I'm healthier

      Making it easier for the insurance companies to leverage up before they ultimately implode and destroy the global economy.

    • by moozey ( 2437812 )

      Con: You're another annoying bicycle rider on the road that every driver hates.

      Okay, I kid...

      But seriously.

    • I had a professor explain this to me as the "shoes in China" theory. Basically, it says that you can make any assumptions you want, but unless they're based on cold hard facts, and 100% true, you're just FOS.
      If I sell shoes in china, I could *in theory* be rich off of a 1/1000 success rate. It may never happen, but it looks like an easy goal on paper...

    • I like the "hurting automobile sales, which in turn contribute to layoffs." It's right up there with not breaking windows anymore, hurting glass sales, contributing to layoffs. You monster.

  • bad title? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fireylord ( 1074571 )

    The title is misleading, just by looking at the summary you can see this is about actual copyright infringement, not 'file sharers'. Guess this was submitted by a **aa shill.

    • by qxcv ( 2422318 )

      These people were sharing files too, only they did it on physical media for profit. You're very clever, young man, very clever - but it's data all the way down!

    • If we're calling bullshit on terminology, then how many file "sharers" do actually share a single copy rather than making new ones every time they up- and download?

      If you're under any delusions that making and particularly distributing copies is legal or defensible in any Berne Convention signatory, then I invite you to peruse the wide variety of judgements which will scoff at you far more effectively than I can. And I give good scoff.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        I don't give a sh*t about the Berne Convention.

        The ethics of the situation has really nothing to do with what a bunch of corporate minions manage to come up with behind closed doors somewhere.

      • The great thing with that line of thinking is that there exists only a single "copy" - since all the copied copies are identical, there is no way to prove which is the original. So yes, in essence the sharers *are* sharing a single copy (even though there may exist multiple instances of that copy!)
    • by hitmark ( 640295 )

      And what makes you think they are not employing similar tactics to inflate damage estimates for file sharing cases?

  • If someone contributes to the economy by buying counterfeit DVDs, wouldn't they also contribute to the economy by buying counterfeit popcorn?

    Seriously though, the honour of lying is right up their with piracy in my books. And embellishment is a form of lying. Any serious analysis of piracy would take into consideration that the habits of people who buy are different from the habits of people who take. Even marketers know that: they will gladly give away goodies to grab people's attention, get people to t

    • by n30na ( 1525807 )
      I'm pretty sure most pirates tend to download more than they can consume, at least in my experience.
      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        They also tend to download more than they are capable of paying for. They may or may not actually pay for some of what they consume.

        When you drop the price down to zero, the situation becomes quite unlike any situation where people are even paying 1 cent for the works in question.

      • by AdamJS ( 2466928 )
        They also tend to buy more than people that download less than them.
  • Am I alone in always having assumed that this would be the case? In any litigation that I've ever been involved in everyone assumes that a compromise will need to be reached and so piles in every cost they can justify in any way at all, no matter how flimsy. The main aim of any initial filing is to raise the litigation risk for the other party, ie the amount that they would maybe have to pay if they lost. It forms a starting point for the negotiation over the course of the action.
  • A single CD-R could feasibly contain a thousand copies of some expensive custom embedded control code. That's easily a million dollars per CD.

    Or, what is the value of some of the better HFT algorithms? They're basically propping up the big investment banks, so like 10 billion dollars? That could probably fit on a single CD-R.

    You've got to think bigger than farmers growing popcorn. Sheesh, amateurs...

  • What a low-life pond scum, willing participating in such a corrupt scheme/racket. Some people will do anything for money.

    May the worms eat his dead body from its casket and vomit his remains.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What a low-life pond scum, willing participating in such a corrupt scheme/racket. Some people will do anything for money.

      May the worms eat his dead body from its casket and vomit his remains.

      I'm not sure how busting people for making counterfeit hardcopy and selling them for money qualifies as a "corrupt scheme/racket". Most people would consider plain old fashioned theft to be just that... theft.

      Oh, I'm sorry, you must have just read the slashdot title and immediately posted your rant without reading either the summary OR the article. Maybe you should stop doing that, it makes you look like an idiot.

      • by intnsred ( 199771 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @10:28AM (#37598770)

        First, piracy is a copyright violation; piracy is NOT theft. []

        But to a address your point:

        I'm not sure how busting people for making counterfeit hardcopy and selling them for money qualifies as a "corrupt scheme/racket".

        The corrupt scheme is the inflating of the value of the so-called piracy by counting every blank disc as a pirated copy and lying like this for political purposes. This is the same immoral/sleazy tactic used by police to inflate the "street value" of seized marijuana plants. The corrupt cops count seeds, seedlings, leaves, stems, root balls, etc. when they know that only the bud of the pot plant gets sold and has real value. They lie this way to make the "crime" seem bigger.

        This is the same reason the corrupt PI lies about the value of pirated material. But in this case, they're also doing it to influence corrupt, corporate-funded politicians to pass harsher laws.

  • IT wouldn't be the first law, totally based on a lie, for the self enrichmen tof big c...

  • Anybody genuinely shocked by this?

    And if you extrapolate enough, you can take anything to extreme and prove just about anything. That's why statisticians and experts are supposed to come up with what's reasonable, not something that exceeds global GDP because of someone copying a single CD.

    There was a British comedy called Only Fools and Horses which contains the following exchange, which I consider no different to these methods:

    Rodney: It doesn't matter what they use it for, Trig, it's still knocked off -

    • You can extrapolate the destruction, or the propping up of an entire economy based on pirating of one CD ... if you try hard enough

      Most stock traders do this and more every day, a rumour of a minor potential difficulty can sink a single company, and industry or a whole economy ...

  • I don't even care anymore about music & movies coming out anymore, purely because of all this crap that's in association with and being supported by my potential purchases.

  • is that different from the normal PI (3.14156265...

  • stale $5/tub popcorn does nothing for me. But I'll go through a couple bags of microwave stuff during a movie at home. Maybe I'm not the norm, or maybe they need to redo their figures, or maybe they don't care.

    • Out of curiosity, do you own a pot, and a range?

      I used to eat microwave popcorn but my lady won't let me own one. Whatever I think about that, it's not worth having a war over the microwave. As a side benefit, I started making all my own popcorn, bought bulk at the health food store for practically nothing. It's cheaper than all but the crappiest microwave popcorn on sale, even when cooked in EVOO. I am a butter addict and cook with it, slather it on pancakes or waffles, and so on, but I actually prefer my

      • by Leebert ( 1694 ) *

        I used to eat microwave popcorn but my lady won't let me own one.

        Since we're asking "Out of curiosity" questions, why exactly is she opposed to microwave ovens?

  • was hired to track people who pirated software

    Should read: Was hired to track people that sold content that had been cracked.

    Good for him. He was getting rid of a menace to society, pirates. People that crack then post the content to the web in retaliation to DRM or just to show the public the content was all hype are not pirates. Lumping the two together is the reason they are having so much resistance. The fact that they are using the same funny math calculations to show damages in cases against peopl

  • That sounds like a pretty fun job. You just get to make wild guesses and accusations about what something is worth based off of completely arbitrary guesses on what effects what.
  • by alexo ( 9335 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @11:01AM (#37599228) Journal

    subject says it all

  • by Anonymous Coward

    One day a high level judge is going to realize its just a 99 cent download each.
    If I steal a car and get caught I might have to pay for the car not the steel mill and the union wages.

  • This PI should be in jail for what he's done.
    • That would achieve nothing. There are plenty more where he came from. It is the people employing him that should be in jail.
  • Am I a criminal, considering how much "potential crack" is in my refrigerator under the name "baking soda" and how much "potential methamphetamine" is under my bathroom sink under the names "bleach" and "drano"......

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