Unscientific poll on The Pirate Bay sentence -- UPDATED

Here's the current (06:35BST, April 19, 2009) standing in a Guardian poll on the jail-time-and-millions-in-fines sentence handed down to the defendants in the Swedish Pirate Bay case. It's an unscientific poll, of course, but it's also telling: if the objective of the lawsuit was to make the public feel like the Pirate Bay was illegitimate and that downloaders should stick to official services like iTunes, then this suggests pretty abject failure on that score.

A fair sentence for pirates? (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Update:I'm an idiot who can't read graphs, clearly, Teach me to post at 5:30 in the morning.


  1. Huh? Am I missing something here?

    The majority of people who voted seem to agree with the verdict.

    Where is the failure? If anything this sounds like a success for the lawsuit: pirate bay was found guilty, and the public supports the decision.

  2. Am I missing something here? These number suggest to me exactly the opposite of what you are saying.

  3. I don’t understand. 86 percent in favor of the verdict seems like success for the copyright holders.

  4. Something is fishy at the Guardian. Every single comment is opposed to the verdict/sentence.

  5. I can’t even believe that it was a “poll” regardless of whether it was scientific or not.

    Seriously, everyone I know downloads illegal files. Mostly music. Even my dad who would return a wallet with five-thousand dollars in it.

  6. I’m with Isaac and Topiary on this one. Seems like 86.8% of the voters in this poll are sleeping well tonight knowing copyright is being protected. 13.2% does not constitute abject failure to me. wat?

  7. Yeah the comments on the page are all against the verdict though…it’s like none of the commentators voted…

  8. Maybe the file sharing community has been living in a dream word. Maybe there really is popular support for this verdict.

  9. Hang on…… Abject failure… HOW?

    Please explain Cory – your attempt to spin the story is ham-fisted at best, dishonest at worst.

    I think your readers deserve a clearer look into your logic on this.

  10. There’s a simple explanation if you read the comments associated with the poll…The numbers very quickly went from an overwhelming “unfair” vote to what we’re seeing now with the “yes, very fair” vote.

    Mayhaps it has something to do with every single conservative tit in Europe waking up to their Sunday news and breakfast at the same time?

  11. I find it strange that they took on the Pirate Bay when their specific gripe is music downloading.

    People don’t download torrents of individual songs, which is the online retailers’ main market.
    Limewire would have to be the main player in this regard.

    In any case, record labels and artists are increasingly getting out of the iTunes business model. They don’t like albums gathering dust for the sake of single-track sales.


  12. I don’t see how this has anything to do with “conservative” versus “liberal” unless you are claiming that liberals enjoy breaking laws (which would be presumably a conservative viewpoint). Again, providing legal content under licenses that explicitly *allow* redistribution has nothing to do with piracy or the Pirate Bay.

  13. @Jonathan Badger
    Conservative was a poor choice of words considering the political implications, and was brought on by a lack of sleep.

    Rather, I intended a group which sees more in shades of black and white than gray, without a full understanding of the technologies involved, regardless of their moral, ethical, or political bent.

  14. The problem is (assuming that it isn’t a shill) where these polls are. I don’t presume to know their readership well enough, but if we were to run the same poll on boing boing it would probably show exactly the same numbers – just in reverse. Rotten stats are worse than no stats.

  15. @quickbrownfox,
    While large music labels who are on the way out anyway, and mainstream “artists” might be bucking the iTunes way, it is still the biggest boon to the independent music industry in a long time. It greatly simplifies overhead and distribution for bands just starting out. it’s time for LA to face the fact that sadly, its become obsolete.

  16. I don’t see this as an abject failure either. I understand Cory is all about free dissemination of content, but this is quite bizarre.

    Also, how is it a conservative notion that someone demands they get paid for their work?

    Sorry but this doesn’t convince me—and it seems a few others—that people still see theft of content as theft of content.

  17. This, it only supports big corporations is bullshit to try and hide common theft. I write children’s books. I am not a corporation. Sony are making one of my books into a movie so ripping it off will be stealing from me, nit just Sony who by the way, will have invested a lot of money in making the movie and have every right to make a decent profit.

    Let Piratebay and other so called ‘file sharers’ rot in hell. 1 year is not enough and if they are refusing to pay the fines, take them for everything they have. That’s what they’ve been encouraging others to do.

  18. I thought I was missing something, but it seems that most of you share my opinion that there is a certain amount of cognitive dissonance between the poll results and Cory’s interpretation.

  19. The “abject failure” I believe was in reference to when the poll earlier showed a vast majority believing the ruling to be unfair…In short, it indicated that the lawsuit had NOT “[made] the public feel like the Pirate Bay was illegitimate and that downloaders should stick to official services like iTunes.”

    The poll in the meantime shot up to ~85% agreeing with the verdict, ~15% disagreeing, reversing the trend and showing that they had indeed made filesharing out to be “illegitimate.”

    Interestingly, the numbers have been changing over the past hour…Last I checked in was back down to ~60% approval, ~40% disapproval.

  20. Interestingly, the Swedish people (who are more versed in the particulars of the case, as well), seem to have the opposite opinion.

    In Dagens Nyheter’s (largest morning paper) web poll on essentially the same question, the standing is:
    Yes – 17% (4859)
    No – 83% (23965)

    Aftonbladet’s (largest evening tabloid) poll:
    Yes – 10.8%
    No – 89.2 %
    With 121843 votes total

    Not to mention a large (by Swedish standards) demonstration in Stockholm yesterday, and that the “Pirate Party” now boasts more members than 3 of the 7 parties in parliament.

  21. you may want to check the latest results. I think you will find them more to your liking

    -love 4chan

  22. It’s become a race between whoever rigged the poll in favor of the corporations in the first place, and /b/, which has gotten a hold of it.

    No matter who is ahead when the poll closes in 15 hours, the credulity of this poll just got shot to /dev/null.

  23. if you actually go to the poll and look at it, and hit refresh a couple times over five minutes, you can see it’s trending towards agreeing with the Swedish polls alex M just posted. or is this just a side affect of being linked from boingboing?

  24. “this suggests pretty abject failure on that score. ;)”
    Corrected that for you Cory.
    For people who didn’t get it, I think he meant it as a joke since he has (correctly) predicted that this blog readers will vote for the second option and the result will eventually match his interpretation. (Which is btw true as I writing this :) )

  25. #13 –Yep! Online voting. My guess, this result will change dramatically. Three guesses as to why. (and the first two don’t count)

  26. If online polls meant anything Ron Paul would be president by now.

    Perhaps we should start an e-petition about how unfair the verdict was?

  27. Just stopping by to say that the tie has turned:

    Is the verdict and its accompanying sentence justified?
    24.2% Yes, it’s a reassuring victory for the protection of copyright
    75.8% No, it only protects the wallets of big entertainment corporations

  28. “Also, how is it a conservative notion that someone demands they get paid for their work?”

    It’s conservative as in they want to conserve their ability to get paid for their work in the way they’ve been able to in the past, maybe.

  29. And liberals don’t want to get paid? It’s pretty telling that Richard Stallman, basically the quintessential hippie hacker, is against piracy. The way to win against big corporations isn’t to download the latest Britney Spears — it’s to create something more compelling, and see how you can make a living while still releasing your work under CC.

  30. I didn’t say anything about poitical conservatism. I said conservatives like conserving.

  31. Jack, Colinet: You need to understand that by twisting copyright completely out of shape, the copyright extremists have forfeited public support. They achieved their goals of indefinite term extension, banning whole classes of technology, regulating the private activities of individuals in their own homes (I’m talking region coding of DVDs here, I’m talking sharing a song with your kids – not filesharing), and prohibition of wide swaths of genuine creativity, from artful remixes to dancing toddlers. But by doing so, they have destroyed the legitimacy of the law.

    Go ahead, trot out the customary excuses. This is “necessary” because artists need to get paid. “Theft” must be stopped. But how can a failed strategy be “necessary”? This utter failure only renders the outrageous intrusions and harms caused by these bought-and-paid-for laws completely indefensible. How far are you willing to go? How many generations are you willing to criminalize? How much art and technology are you willing to ban?

    I don’t care a whole lot about filesharing. It’s not something I do. But I certainly do care when this is used in an excuse to seize control of culture, to reserve full participation in culture for a narrow class of professional creators, and to attempt to destroy the potential of the Internet to make human life better, more creative, more democratic, and more free. So long as you lend your efforts to the wrong side of that far more important fight your arguments in support of your own self-interest will fall on the deaf ears of those they ban, censor and harm.

  32. Jonathan Badger: As I recall, Stallman is in favor of legalizing non-commercial filesharing. His response to questions about piracy is that he is opposed to violent attacks on shipping. I believe the reason for his opposition to illegal copying of proprietary software is that it effectively promotes the entrenchment of un-free software. This is the flip-side of Bill Gates’s declaration that an illegal copy of Windows is better than no copy at all.

    The same argument can be applied to cultural works of course. Sharing Disney films increases their audience and cultural significance, and therefore their value. It is better for Disney that they are shared than that they are not watched at all.

    This is in full accord with your suggestion: do good work and release it under a CC license. Make that a free CC license.

  33. Well, there you go, Guardian. Don’t try to pick a fight with the internets with stupid crap like that :)

  34. Hollywood has sought to put a price tag on human culture, and unfortunately are winning. Who owns anything anyways…how about the artists and their teachers, not some company middleman and marketing agents. Hollywood has monopololized American culture for too long. I am glad Pirate Bay exists. If Hollywood gave back fairly to the artists that they stole from or blacklisted, or had any sense of decency about the culture that allowed their exploited talent to fluorish, they would give much more freely and not be so greedy about content, much of which they had no creative involvement in anyways other than a funder. They have become merely an overly entitled bank stocked full of cash from past exploited talents. They have been and are much greater theives than any of the pirates at the pirate bay ever were.

  35. Conduct a real random sample poll or don’t waste people’s time with web-based stuff (which really only serves the ballot stuffers).

    I’m curious to read an English translation of the rationale behind the verdict so I can see what factors played into that verdict.

  36. Yeah, Boingboing needs to update the image, it’s exactly reversed with 82% saying “no, only the wallets of the rich” and 18% saying yes

  37. Ironically, now that Cory’s fixed the post, the Guardian has gotten it’s act together, and the bars are displaying properly… namely the way Cory originally thought they were.

  38. It would be helpful if they posted more info than two simple percentages. For instance, 14.8% Yes, 85.2% No, this gap of 70.4% represents 700 votes, or 7 million? It would even be better to display a graph showing the cumulative number of yes/no votes over each hour. We could then see how supporters of the losing side rush to swing the votes to the other side.

  39. Isn’t the whole piracy/poor-rich debate nothing more than another chapter of the meeting of this planet’s greeds? Nothing new and it will play itself out but without me: I am an Open Source guy, in software with Blender and in making with Frugelhorn loudspeakers.
    Time is the only currency that I’m interested in and, since it spends itself already want it or not, I am not loosing any more of it over this debate. Should you?

  40. what they did was not so bad as to warrent a Prison sentence and the fines, stupid what normal person can afford that.

    I am not arsed about the big guys but the little companies trying to scrape a profit can be really screwed by file sharing

  41. A yes/no answer to that question is absurd to begin with. The poll implies that the outcome of the trial is ok anyway. I mean, people may say that copyright holders deserve to be rich. The “No” answer sounds resentful and vindictive to me.

  42. The “musicians must be paid for their creations” argument is pointless, because the musicians themselves say that they get really little money from CD sales; for them, selling CDs is just trying to get to an audience who will then go to their concerts, and that’s where the money is.

    Artists don’t even get their (extremely small) share from online sales, because their outdated contracts don’t take those sales into account. Therefore, all the money from online music purchases goes to the big companies.

    For spanish-speaking readers, check “La Excepción”, the spanish hip-hop band that has just uploaded their latest CD for free downloading. Read their reasons for doing so.

  43. Copying music and movies is like when Jebus copied the fish and bread and fed all those people.

    Maybe some fishermen and bakers went bankrupt, but it was for the common good. It was obviously the right thing to do back then and it’s obviously the right thing to do today.

    Granted, culture, knowledge and information is not as essential as food, but it’s still so very valuable for all mankind. And we can give it to everybody for free! Hallelujah!

  44. Prison is harsh for a crime such as this.

    So many people copy music/movies/software, etc.

    I would imagine that most people who do so understand that it is “wrong” to do so – or at least that they are “stealing” – yet they do it, regardless.


  45. During the Napoleonic wars (yes, this will be relevant), Napoleon determined that one way of screwing the British was to prevent anyone on the continent from trading with them.


    Needless to say, it didn’t work. People wanted what they wanted. Alcohol prohibition didn’t work in the USA and illicit drug prohibition doesn’t seem to be any more successful.

    People will do what they do in large numbers when they believe they are being ripped off.

    Downloading TV shows, movies and music is the consequence of many in the community believing they are being ripped off or treated unfairly.

    Even some artists think the law is an ass:


    and there is evidence showing that illegal downloading does NOT cause a restriction in sales:


    It seems clear that ‘play nice’ is a two-way street and a large number of people in the community are not happy with those who don’t ‘play nice’ and so will do what the can to make it into a more even playing field.

  46. Right now, the percentages are:

    6.6 % Yes, it’s a reassuring victory for the protection of copyright

    93.4 % No, it only protects the wallets of big entertainment corporations

    I suspect the poll shows what Cory said it showed when he posted at 5.30 in the morning. Still unscientific. Result might be skewed b this ver post :-)

  47. Somedays, the interTubes make me angry and pretty much assure me of the eventual doom of mankind.

    Today is not one of those days.

    Thank you, 4chan, Slashdoters, and BoingBoingers. You’ve restored my faith in the Tubes.

  48. @Jonathan Badger: Yeah, because the big corporations won’t just offer you ridiculous sums of money (which, for them, are a bargain) to conscript your idea. See: Microsoft. And if you don’t take the money, well, there’s always industrial espionage…

    I have issues with corporate monopolies. Then again, I don’t pirate music — I get it from outside-the-U.S. sources that charge much less per track than iTunes, and possess the legal distribution rights within that nation. Offshoring costs less, and now not just the big megacorps get to use it.

  49. The Pirate Bay guys were asking for it. They are digital pirates, Pirates get hung out to dry.

    Now, as far as the music industry goes, it had better come up with something useful quick, or else it will go the way of the madison design firm.

  50. Interesting.

    It’s also interesting that my Shiretoko 3.5b4pre (just updated) is now choking on this site.

    The joys of not even beta software.

    I had to go with my 3.0.8 install to see the update.

  51. 5.2% Yes, 94.8% No.

    Clearly, even Britain hates the RIAA (and their analogs across the world).

  52. 8 hours before poll closing: Votes 5.4% (Yes, it’s a reassuring victory for the protection of copyright) and 94.6% (No, it only protects the wallets of big entertainment corporations).

    As a result of the pirate bay verdict, i predict heavy damage to the entertain industry sales. This is very bad PR for them. Freeloaders always bought some legal CD, DVDs and downloads from time to time. Now, this is over. Better prepare for a big customer loss…

  53. Seven hours left for the poll, and if current trends continue, votes supporting the Pirate Bay sentence will be statistically insignificant by the end of the poll. Thanks to the word getting out. The intertubez defend themselves again…

  54. I’m sure it’s been pointed out (indeed, the title post itself does so!) but isn’t there just the teensiest possibility that those voting were ever so slightly motivated and self-selecting?

    I mean, I voted no, ‘cos I think it’s very stupid, but I balk at the triumphalism in all this. I don’t think it helps at all. I found Eric Flint’s articles (linked to by some kind soul above) to be nicely argued. Odd, ‘cos I’ve tended to avoid Baen stuff…

  55. Mannakiosk said:

    Copying music and movies is like when Jebus copied the fish and bread and fed all those people.

    If the fines for loaf and fish piracy were in Kroner, what would Jesus pay?

  56. Lol, good example of life imitating art. The results now match up with the original article. I would tend to guess that the poll has been effectively BoingBoinged. An possibly so effectively because of the cognitive dissonance caused by the error in the above article.

    Still its a very effective example of a good reason not to trust online polls.

  57. Telecustard said:

    If the fines for loaf and fish piracy were in Kroner, what would Jesus pay?

    Well assuming he copied roughly 200 denarii worth of food for 5000 people, that’s roughly 1000000 denarii at somewhere around 0 AD. The legal interest rate limit then was somewhere around 8%. Say 2000 years later, Jesus now owes ~3.5*10^75 denarii.

    Back then 200 denarii was somewhere around a day’s wages, so that’s what, almost 10^74 USD, or roughly 10^75 Swedish Kroner.

    This doesn’t really account for inflation though…

    Either way Jesus is f*cked.

  58. Great, a fictional character owes a fictional amount of money.

    Poll is at 90-something % against, with 4 hrs left.



    Because the initial post was flawed and bizarrely claimed that the majority of casual poll takers thought the verdict was an “abject failure.”

    And even if the poll was correctly reflecting that flawed assessment: So what? Online polls are nothing but traffic generators. They are far from scientific to say the least. And it basically feeds the idea of polarization instead of real discussion.

    Folks who think the verdict was right will still think it’s right. And those who think it’s wrong will still think it’s wrong. It’s basically accentuating an “us versus them” mentality.

    That said there is one thing that can be learned from this post: If BoingBoing tells readers to visit a poll site expect that poll site to be slammed and the stats further warped. Kind of disturbing how much power one blog post can wield. And almost makes me think Cory did this to draw attention to the poll to get it to swing the way he’d like it to swing.

  60. I’ve used BitTorent with multiple clients over the years to grab music and video. I took all of Firefly, then bought the boxed set at Target. Caught up on BSG after missing most of Season 2. The current Blake’s 7 rights holders have refused for years to release a boxed set with Region 1 encoding, so all four seasons now live on a couple of my spare hard drives. In general, I dig the distributed nature of the protocol and the technology behind it. It works! Even when it sucks, it works–Blake’s 7 was a hard-won download that took months using two or three seeds and a handful of leeches.

    But: I get Ubuntu as a straight-up ISO download. I get patches for games and apps the same way. Radiohead released In Rainbows on their own web store, which plotzed within hours of going live. NIN put out NIN/JA via an emailed link their site sent to you after you allowed it to harvest your address. Yeah, they were expecting it to show up on P2P (which it did, immediately). But it took somebody else to set up the torrent, upload files to the tracker, and so on.

    Warner Bros was supposed to start distributing stuff via BitTorrent three years ago. So were Paramount and Fox. What happened to that? The CBC put something out last year, which was promptly throttled by local ISPs.

    Legitimate uses just seem to fall away into obscurity. Does the average consumer know or care that Fedora and EA use the protocol? While asking Google about Netflix, I was astounded to learn from a NY Times story that the BitTorrent Entertainment Network went live in early 2007. The story was headlined, “Software Exploited by Pirates Goes to Work for Hollywood.”

    Which might be the problem (ya think?). The potential of the protocol for rapid and efficient distribution is obvious. It’s also obvious that, no matter what opinion people here or anywhere else might have about sharing copyrighted material, BitTorrent’s public image is associated with criminality both subtle and overt.

    So, questions. How much collateral damage is really being done to technological innovation by the fallout of legal battles like this one? Were it not for the RIAA-MPAA axis, would everybody already have a Cox, Comcast, or NetFlix branded BitTorent set top box? Is development of BitTorent’s successor technology being hampered, or not happening at all?

    I suppose that what I’m trying to figure out is simply this: was BitTorrent always destined to be a product used by development communities and music-swappers, or could it have been as ubiquitous as Windows?

  61. Not really – the intertubes have a short attention span.

    It’s back up to 7.6% with 3 hours to go.

  62. Comment #101 — just wanted to THANK YOU CORY for continuing to blog. Despite this gaff, you simply apologized, applied liberal strikethrough, and kept moving.

    More people should follow your example.

  63. any publicity is good publicity. This is an important matter that depends on the attention of the bulk of the people to be resolved in a just manner. No waste of time here.

  64. Jack @98:

    It’s basically accentuating an “us versus them” mentality.

    And that is all good, bring it on. The more people get pissed off at the MAFIAA cartels => the less people buy their crap => the faster they’ll disappear.
    Note how quickly they started to sink after killing Napster… they basically stabbed themselves in the face. They radicalized a generation, made quite a few enemies, and basically created a political opposition to copyright from nothing. They are actively accelerating their demise, let’s help them as much as we can!

  65. @#104 POSTED BY TOYG:
    You simply have no implied right to take something that someone has worked on without compensation. Just because you can drive a car on the sidewalk, doesn’t mean it’s right. By your broad/polarized logic, the knife industry has created their own problem by creating sharp objects that can cut things. Therefore, if someone gets stabbed in the face with a knife, it’s because of a flawed business model. ;)

    Seriously, I understand digital distribution is the future. But free content isn’t. I’m more than happy to pay $9.99 for a movie and download it right away. For example:


    Even when it sucks, it works–Blake’s 7 was a hard-won download that took months using two or three seeds and a handful of leeches.

    So IWOOD spent months downloading something that he could have ordered, bought and watched in a shorter span of time. Seriously, if it takes you months to download something you are probably spending the same amount of money as if you went out and bought it straight out. But instead of the artists/creators getting the money, the electric company & ISP get the fees instead.

    So basically in a case like this folks are claiming the “MAFIAA” (aka: MPAA/RIAA) is holding content hostage? Really? For $9.99 for an average movie I can simply get the movie and get on with my life instead of tying up my computer for weeks/months to “save” money.

    Which is why I will repeat what I said before: People want digital distribution of content. If free works, okay that might work for some. But for my $9.99 I’d rather get the movie/music and get on with life.

    And in the case of software I will say this: I used to spend inordinate hours trying to download stuff from various sites about 10 years ago. Until I looked at what I was getting paid, look at how much I was “saving” by downloading illicitly and then looked at the time I spent/wasted and realized one thing: I’m basically killing myself and spending more time/energy trying to get stuff for free than simply paying for a clean copy from a solid distribution channel.

    Folks, calculate how much your time is worth and you’ll see free content costs a lot more than you think.


    so you have no objection to people spending their own time downloading?

    Sure! No problem at all. But give the average person a choice between spending weeks to download a $9.99 CD or just buying the CD on iTunes (let’s say) and downloading it, most folks who aren’t brainwashed by copyright rhetoric.

    That’s the issue. People want to download things because it’s easier/quicker than buying a CD and the issue of whether they pay for it or not is not as big as some make it out to be.

    But saying the MPAA/RIAA are using a broken model and deserve to be robbed is a tad ridiculous. Up until the advent of MP3s nobody characterized the music/movie business as holding content “hostage”. What an asinine conceit.

    I’m not saying the MPAA/RIAA needs to catch up with the times, but to say they don’t provide a service is delusional. Yes, they have become bloated but on a most basic level I can still walk into most any store or go on Amazon and buy a DVD and get it quicker/faster than most torrent downloads.

    Remove the DRM and setup online storefronts ala iTunes and Rhapsody and just let people pay for the convenience of not having to deal with war3z d00dz culture.

    Or to bring an analogy from the real world, a friend of mine would constantly bitch about how much more drinks cost when you go to a bar versus buying on your own. And I basically said, “Yeah, I’ll pay $5-$6 for the same beer I could get for $2 a can/bottle elsewhere. But I get the added value of hanging out in a nice bar and not drinking in an apartment and just watching TV.”

  67. I also 4chan: Do act for great justice, do not deface forums (I’m sure people still hate me anyway). Did vote several hundred times on Guardian poll. I think the slight up-tick in the “yes” percentage was also 4channers lulzing the rest of u.s

  68. The sentence will probably get cut in half and then cut in half again. Even then the amount of money they’re supposed to pay is ridiculous by our (Swedish) standards. And about going to jail for this, I’ll believe it when I see it.

    30Mkr or some $3M is an astronomical sum of money in our legal system. The scary thing is, there is nothing you can do to another human in terms of torture that would warrant a sum like that. They talk of sums like $20k-50k for a little girl who’s been raped over and over again during a ten year period. Lost DVD royalties? BAM! 3 million!

  69. @#111 posted by Jack:

    So IWOOD spent months downloading something that he could have ordered, bought and watched in a shorter span of time.

    You missed the part where he said:

    The current Blake’s 7 rights holders have refused for years to release a boxed set with Region 1 encoding

    He couldn’t get it any other way because of big-media region-encoding idiocy, downloading was his only option if he wanted to watch it. (Well, that or breaking the region-encoding, which is also illegal per-DMCA.)

  70. Edit it back, it’s a landslide – 91.1% say no now.

    Sounds right, the decision is inoperably broad. It’s a turkey shoot if you want to rely on that to protect anything you have copyright to. (Someone steals your (copyrighted) blog and posts it on their site? Sue Google for linking to it). Google suddenly need to argue against Swedish precedent. It’s crazy if it’s not overturned soon.

  71. Jack @111:

    You simply have no implied right to take something that someone has worked on without compensation. Just because you can drive a car on the sidewalk, doesn’t mean it’s right.

    Driving on the sidewalk kills people. Watching a movie for free doesn’t kill anyone. Downloaders are driving solar-powered flying cars and the cartels are trying to ground them because “you used to buy fuel from us! You used to buy tyres from us!”.

    The mechanics of economics reward scarcity; the digital world has overcome scarcity of anything that can be digitized. The response from the MAFIAA cartels is to reinvent scarcity by legal means; this is making every digital citizen poorer for no good reason. Only because you can bankrupt your customer via the legal system doesn’t mean it’s right.
    But as I said, this behaviour will be their undoing. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in 30 years time, entertainment cartels will be made illegal.

  72. Is the verdict and its accompanying sentence justified?

    8.2% Yes, it’s a reassuring victory for the protection of copyright

    91.8% No, it only protects the wallets of big entertainment corporations


    He couldn’t get it any other way because of big-media region-encoding idiocy, downloading was his only option if he wanted to watch it. (Well, that or breaking the region-encoding, which is also illegal per-DMCA.)

    Fair enough. But the time/energy spent to buy a Region 2 DVD set, ripping it, and re-burning so it’s region free or buying a region free DVD player is still less than the months spent downloading.

    In the case of region restrictions, I think more people on the street understand how crazy that is than painfully abstract concepts of how the RIAA/MPAA is just a universal bad guy because they demand payment for artwork provided.

    Arguments that copying doesn’t hurt anyone is delusional. You can go as far back as the 1980s and the collapse of Synapse Software (an Atari computer game developer) to see how damaging it can be.

    I do agree that copy-protection and DRM doesn’t work, but to them imply “Well, it doesn’t work we can just snatch it and then not act shocked when the artist/creator complains…” is really self-centered.

    The true/clear future that will help all is to remove copy protection but provide a paid service for quick/reliable downloading of content. People want downloads and they want it now. Attach a price tag to that and you win! But simply yelling about how this is a all a scam is crazy.

    If I work on something and would like to get paid for my time and energy, you cannot negate that by saying you inherently deserve it because you can easily copy it.

  74. damn – well, let them hang out in jail for a year (or less). with that much time on their hands i can’t wait for these kids to think up the next great file share protocol. they’ll cool off, and revenge is a dish best served cold.
    once more unto the breach!

  75. #122 posted by Jack:

    Fair enough. But the time/energy spent to buy a Region 2 DVD set, ripping it, and re-burning so it’s region free or buying a region free DVD player is still less than the months spent downloading.

    Do you actually use BitTorrent?

    The “time/energy spent” downloading consisted of

    1) Downloading the .torrent (4 seconds)
    2) Hitting the “Play” button in Azureus (.01 seconds)
    3) Using my laptop us usual to do whatever it was I was doing anyway

    Azureus ran in the background, and grabbed pieces as they became available, which took awhile. But it was less effort than watching television, because I didn’t have to spend time watching anything.

    I already pay for my bandwidth, and the laptop used the same juice it always did whenever I used it.

    So: total cost to me = $0. Total cost to Blake’s 7 rights holders = approximately £70, but that’s just a guess because the product that I want and am willing to pay for (i.e., DVDs I can watch on my DVD player) does not exist. The series has been around since 1978. I’m sure they’ll come out with region 1 DVDs any…day…now.

    As a creative type myself, I mostly agree with your overall slant regarding compensation for creatives, but you don’t seem to be familiar with the technology driving this issue.

  76. @#124 POSTED BY IWOOD:
    I’m actually familiar with the technology, but don’t like running apps like that in the background while my system does other things. I need to limit the amount of apps running not to save processes but to make sure that if I am debugging code I don’t have the x-factor of another piece of software getting in the way.

    But that said, if there were a legal source of downloads, would you pay the £70? Or perhaps less? To just simply get it and don’t worry about anything else?

  77. If the download was DRM-free and in a decent format, yeah, we’d all be buying like crazy. Check how the music biz was doing during the first few Napster years.

    Problem is, such a product will not be developed by going after the likes of TPB. If anything, outlawing filesharing is actually reducing the market for entertainment products, as their most natural customers are needlessly antagonized.

    You say:

    Arguments that copying doesn’t hurt anyone is delusional. You can go as far back as the 1980s and the collapse of Synapse Software (an Atari computer game developer) to see how damaging it can be.

    Synapse died because Atari didn’t pay for shipped products; that’s hardly an uncommon event in business (hell, ask any SMB owner how much time he has to spend chasing invoices), and has nothing to do with piracy.
    Computer gaming did benefit from “piracy” a big deal — exactly like all software did (including MS Windows and Adobe Photoshop). The market was enlarged much faster than it would have been otherwise, hooking (underage) customers who went on to pay as soon as they started to earn real money. And nowadays, the market is incredibly healthy, raking in profits that dwarf much older Hollywood counterparts. Why? because they managed to develop business models that can leverage piracy, like distributing demos and run subscription-based services.

    But I’m not holding my breath for the MAFIAA bosses to understand this sort of thing…

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