UK record industry spokesman wants you to know why his employers are going after Pirate Party execs personally

Last weekend, I posted about the UK record industry lobby's strategy of legally threatening executives of the UK Pirate Party over the party's Pirate Bay proxy. Now, Adam Liversage, BPI Director of Communications, wants you to know that his employers had no choice but to threaten the personal finances of Pirate Party officers:

The facts are that despite our efforts over a number of weeks to resolve the matter amicably, Pirate Party UK continued to make clear that they had no intention of removing the proxy to The Pirate Party.

The Pirate Party claims the opposite. I've never known the Pirate Party to knowingly utter a falsehood. I've never known the record industry to knowingly utter a truth, so you make up your own mind.

Our solicitors then wrote to PPUK's National Executive seeking legal undertakings that they would remove the proxy. 'Pirate Party UK' as an entity cannot give undertakings - it has no form of legal personality and it isn't incorporated - so the proper legal course is to write to the members of PPUK's National Executive personally.

The subsequent allegation made by Loz Kaye that BPI has threatened him or other party officers with "bankruptcy" is completely untrue. We have not "individually sued the party's executives" as you assert - we have asked for undertakings to remove the proxy. At no time have we threatened "bankruptcy", so your subsequent narrative about "corporate bullying" and "terrorising people who organise against them" is, in our view, difficult to justify.

So, they're not threatening bankruptcy, they're just talking personal legal action against individuals under statutes that they wrote, bought, and paid for, where the fines involved are designed to bankrupt the losers. But they're not threatening bankruptcy, oh no.

Finally, Mr Liversage, whose employers are funded by companies that stole $45 million in royalties from musicians using a Canadian legal shell-game, routinely fiddle their accounting to their artists, and who ran off-the-books "third-shift" pressings of CDs that could be sold without ever paying royalties to artists until the Sarbanes-Oxley act made their execs personally criminally liable for the practice, wants you to know that:

There is nothing principled in Pirate Party UK helping The Pirate Bay defraud people who earn their living in the creative industries. They have a right to be paid for their work like anyone else.



  1. Interesting. They don’t even explicitly claim that your money supports artists. “people who earn their living in the creative industries” are far less sympathetic.

  2. I can’t speak to the credibility of the Pirate Party UK, but I certainly have to agree that the recording industry has an amazing record of bald-faced lying. Oh, and never forget the Sony rootkit.

    1. Right; again, it is not necessary to support the Pirate Party to note that allowing corporations the ability to personally attack politicians they don’t agree with is a bad course of action.

  3. And the record company executives do this while cowering behind their corporations which shield them from any personal actions against themselves. Just as we can see in today’s news American bankers going unprosecuted while making vast profits from laundering drug money.

  4. Nice letter douchebags… I’m still gonna pirate your shit for the rest of my life and teach others how to as well. The fact that you morons don’t understand that tpb serves legal files is testimony to your ignorance of the internet in general and reinforces my choice to take whatever I want.

    A proxy is not illegal. Your parents having sex should have been.

  5. Wow.  I was a skeptical about the initial claims from the Pirate Party.  I really didn’t think that the record industry could be such epic douche bags as to try and personally ruin these people for offering up a legal proxy server.  Apparently assuming that those industry fucks were at least related to humans and had some vague grasp of human morality was an assumption too far.  They really actually are wretched enough pieces of shit to try and personally ruin the lives of individuals while they had from any lawsuits behind the shield of corporate liability.

    Fuck those guys.  Seriously.  Fuck them.

  6. Is there an article or source for that third-shift pressing claim other than yourself?  Right now it doesn’t really meet my personal standards of “fact I would repeat to others” and I’d like it to, if possible.

  7. Jesus Cory!

    That’s some cold-ass scathing wordsmithing you’ve done there.
    You just ripped out Adam Liversage’s soul and wiped your ass with it.
    Pointing out a mans mistakes or shortcomings is one thing, but by pointing out his actions, reducing him to nothing more than a laughing stock in the international forum of public opinion, cementing his legacy for eternity as such in the never forgetting archives that is the modern internet, I can’t help but feel a little sorry for him.

    You have painted this man as an ignorant fool who tried to talk his way out of responsibility of his own actions as he possibly might done in his own mind a thousand times over to justify who he is and what he does for a living. I’m sure he’s a good person on other ways not mentioned here, no doubt his family love him, his friends enjoy his company on the weekends, perhaps he hosts barbecue in the summer, lovingly makes miniature doll house furniture for his daughters birthday, volunteers at the homeless shelter at Christmas.Yes, perhaps overall it balances out and Adam Liversage is really an ok guy, forced to do an amoral, indecent job that scrapes the bounds of common human decency, yet barely remains within a strict definition of law.

    I hope you’re proud of yourself Doctorow, Adam Liversage way well have been the greatest among us all, the worlds white knight, a real life Harvey Dent, a man of true good and a beacon of love and kindness in this world. and you, like the Joker, you just couldn’t let it be. you had to bring him down to our level by exposing and exasperating his inherent weakness as a mere fallible human being. You have reduced him from a successful, confidant, proud PR professional, into a weeping, shivering shell of a man, eating raw cookie dough, crouched in the corner of his shower stall, washing, washing, but never clean. The taste of tears, combined with despair and sugary dough paste is sickly sweet one to swallow.

    Shame on you Cory Doctorow.

    1. Cory has done nothing of the sort. He’s just eloquently pointed out cynicism of the BPI as uttered trough their chosen spokesperson. Also hello BPI astroturfer. And you don’t incidentally get to be the spokesperson for the copyright mafiaa. Also Adam Liversage is the guy under whose PR auspices/contortions BT was planning to intrusively track users behavior and inject third party ads into their web content. He defended that as a good idea. He’s no harvey dent, more like a Nick Naylor, at best (incidentally played by the same actor).

      People who stand behind this kind of sham should be publicly named and shamed. They deserve the angry emails and twitter blocks. And they should know that doing stupid things is a career limiting choice.

  8. So the record industry is just going after them because they did something that the record industry doesn´t like. Whew, thanks for clearing that up Adam, for a second I thought you and your employers were just a bunch of huge assholes using the flawed legal system to blackmail people into compliance by threatening their families´ livelihood.

  9. I’ve absolutely no wish to support the BPI’s position on this.  However, what they appear to be saying is that because the UK Pirate Party is an unincorporated association (i.e. a group of people who haven’t formed a legal entity), they have no option, if they want to either agree a contract with that body or take legal action against it, they have to do so with the individual members that make up that body.  I think that’s probably true…

    1. So, if I want to talk to the Conservative party, I have to take legal action individually against all its senior members because there’s no corporation to negotiate with?

      I think not.  The Pirate Party is a legal political party; it has officers, a treasurer, and an appointed leader.  The claim that it was ‘impossible’ to form a contract with it is a silly claim, intended to distract attention from the fact that the BPI had no intention of trying.  My local gaming group isn’t a corporation either, but it would be pretty easy to sign a contract with – the club where we meet has one.

      The BPI’s position would be more plausible if they had made some kind of effort.

      1. No – because the Conservative Party, and most other major political parties will have some sort of corporate body (which just means a legal entity) behind them, be that a limited company or something else.

        If your local gaming group isn’t a body corporate of some sort, you cannot sign a contract with it.  You might very well be signing a contract with the other members of the group – but you can’t with the group itself, because, according to most legal systems it just doesn’t exist.  See here for more info:

        Of course, I’m not saying that the Pirates Party are unincorporated, or that the BPI’s actions are right – I’ve no idea on either of those points.  It is a very easy fix for the Pirates Party – setting up a ltd company is cheap and easy and could actually help protect their leadership from liability in future…

        1. I’m not arguing with you about the legal situation; I’m just saying that the legal situation is irrelevant to whether it’s possible to negotiate

          Clearly, there is an actual organisation, and the BPI knew who to contact if they’d wanted to make any attempt to resolve this.  That they begin negotiations with massive personal lawsuits is in itself wrong.  (They could just have easily, and more cheaply, opened an actual negotiation with the people they’re suing… if they can be sued as legal individuals, they could sign contracts as legal individuals.  The BPI’s claim that it had ‘no choice’ simply doesn’t hold up.)

  10. Cory, something I haven’t seen you post on, which I would have expected by now, is the fact the record industry has recently destroyed Usenet.

    They’ve now effectively killed both Torrent and Usenet for much of the world – this is a real ‘win’ for them. Something I’d like to see discussed.

    Is the problem that Usenet has so successfully stayed under the radar that most people haven’t noticed that the media mafia have killed it?

    If only they put as much energy and resources into providing their content to people as they did at fighting piracy.

    1. Usenet died  a decade ago, killed by UBB and its successors like vBulliten and phpBB in the marketplace.  And these were a death of a thousand cuts, as each newsgroup got killed off by various web forums.

      The remaining shell of Usenix found use for piracy for a decade thereafter, but as a conversational media it was killed not by the RIAA/MPAA, but simple neglect and competition.

      1. Well, given the context I thought it might be obvious that I wasn’t talking about the newsgroups :) The Usenet I’m talking about was very much active up until a week or two ago, when DMCA takedowns killed it in one fell swoop.

        My media budget is pretty big, but on occasion I turned to nzbmatrix to fill a need that the media industry was neglecting. Rather than address that need, they stomped out the only technology still catering to it. I find it odd that people still talk about torrents, they’re an inferior and insecure method to usenet, which up until last week, was better in every possible way. Now it’s as good as gone.

        I just wish big media would realise that in this process they’re not thwarting a pirate, they pissing off a customer – a customer that represents a large group of people that are steadily forming a new demographic that despises them.

        That’s not very smart business – I just wish someone would hurry up and offer an alternative.

  11. I don’t think you can really lambast them any more than you would have normally for suing the heads of the Pirate Party personally; there aren’t any other options available to them, if they want to launch legal action, because the Party isn’t an incorporated entity that can be sued. If Loz Kaye & al. didn’t want to be sued personally, they should’ve incorporated.

    On the other hand, we can (and should) scoriate the BPI all we like for jumping straight to legal action without having a dialogue first, if that’s indeed what happened. If the conversation went “We demand that you stop doing this thing!” ‘Let’s talk about it, ok?’ “We demand that you stop doing this thing!” ‘Can’t we please just talk about it?’ “We’re suing you!” then that’s just dumb. The court is supposed to be a last resort, not the first place you turn when someone’s doing something that makes you unhappy. 

    1. Or…. only buy from independent labels, or artists not affiliated with the major producers and industry organizations. There are a lot of really good musicians out there who are not a part of this machine. There is no good reason to buy from the companies that engage in these kinds of activities when there are thousands of artists who do not support this kind of activity who need your financial support.

      And furthermore, don’t steal or pirate either. There are so many artists out there who are not a part of this kind of activity that you can easily have something to listen to every minute of every day for the rest of your life without ever even trying to listen to the artists who are produced by the major labels. Let them fade away. Let them go out of business, not because of piracy but because of irrelevance.

    2. Actually I’d like to support plenty of musicians. Which is why I’ll head to concerts and buy CDs directly from artists, or I’ll order music directly from arists, or every time a band I like puts music on Bandcamp I’ll pay at least something even if its a “pay what you like” deal.

      I also really love record stores, there are fantastic record stores around my city, run by people that really care about music and especially local bands. I want to support them, and the bands they’re supporting.

      Instead perhaps, don’t buy recorded music from crappy record labels, but all recorded music? No thanks I want to support the artists and record labels that sell music in ethical way, thank you very much.

  12. Nah, you’re all getting this wrong. This is a simple case of job demarcation. BPI don’t like the Pirate Party stomping on their turf. Let me rephrase that last quote: “There is nothing principled in Pirate Party UK helping The Pirate Bay defraud people who earn their living in the creative industries. Defrauding people in the creative industries is our job, and we’ll do everything we can to keep it.”

  13. If there’s no dispute, the Pirate Party guys should just shut down the proxy server. It’s clear they’re being asked to do so. If they don’t do it,  they’re essentially refusing. They may feel that it’s their right, but they shouldn’t be coy or hide behind sophistries. They should boldly stand behind their actions if they believe in them or they should just shut down the server. Let’s not waste time blathering on about whether there is or is not a corporation.

  14. If I get it right, the core problem with the  BPI’s behaviour was that they didn’t sue the Pirate Party but their executives.
    This is only addressed in one sentence, and unfortunately Cory doesn’t comment on it:
    “‘Pirate Party UK’ as an entity […] has no form of legal personality and it isn’t incorporated — so the proper legal course is to write to the members of PPUK’s National Executive personally”

    Simple question: Is that true? And what does “seeking legal undertakings” mean in British law? Did they sue them personally or just had a lawyer write a stern letter? Is there a legal reason why it couldn’t have been adressed at the party itself?

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