Scoville Units Unite

10 Mar

Media Conglomorate on the Attack

Note: this post was sitting in my drafts from February 2009. No idea why I didn’t publish at the time.

The RIAA (Recording Industry of America) has had a potted history of cases against individual alleged file sharers. They have sued children, people who don’t own computers and dead people.

Their only courtroom victory was later thrown out. Every time they have won it has been by extortion – threatening people with court if they don’t pay up.

The latest attack on file sharers is taking place in Swedish courts where the 5 people who run the Pirate Bay are on trial. The Pirate Bay site hosts links to torrent files and details of who is sharing files. The important part of this set up is that they don’t actually host any of the files being shared themselves.

They have been threatened before, and generally post abusive messages to the letter writers on their site. They have had their computers siezed and set up quickly in a foreign country. Each of the five is now facing 2 years in jail and up to $180,000 in fines if found guilty.

The case isn’t going so well for the prosecuters, on day 2 of the trial half the charges were thrown out. It looks likely the Pirate Bay will win – the admins don’t even know the new location of the servers.

But leaving aside the actual court case the argument for the court case is bogus. The claim is that copyright infringement costs the companies money.

But

Carina Rydberg

Because I want to watch movies that can neither be rented anymore nor bought on the Internet. I want to read books that are out of print and will cost you £750 eBay. For that reason, I want The Pirate Bay to stay. At the moment, I’m trying to download John Schlesinger’s ‘The Day of the Locust’; it takes time and it’s not even certain I’ll get a copy that is watchable – but at the same time I have no idea how to get the drat flick any another way…

The Pirate Bay is an invaluable source for content that publishers, record labels and movie studios for some reason can’t or won’t offer. If someone on The Pirate Bay chose to download the book I wrote in 1989 I would have no objection to that. That novel is practically impossible to get hold of and as an author I want to be read.

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