The Empire Strikes Back
May 25, 2005 3:00 PM   Subscribe

The Empire Strikes Back. Want that bittorrent of the new Star Wars movie? You won't find it on elitetorrents.org, the site where the file first appeared.
posted by nyterrant (91 comments total)
 
Wow, the hammer falls. That is such a severe web layout I'm a little unsure it's actually federal. It could use some waving flag gifs or something.
posted by undule at 3:03 PM on May 25, 2005


It's ironic that these people supposedly policing the internet seem to have used Word to make that utterly simple webpage...
posted by odinsdream at 3:09 PM on May 25, 2005


why would the department of homeland security be involved?
posted by jeremy b at 3:09 PM on May 25, 2005


Reminds me of when the DOJ took over isonews.com.
posted by zsazsa at 3:12 PM on May 25, 2005



why would the department of homeland security be involved?


I think Copyright is enforced by Customs, which is now a DHS Function/Bureau.

Feel safer? I don't.
posted by Kwantsar at 3:13 PM on May 25, 2005


Immigration and Customs Enforcement is part of Homeland Security.
posted by fixedgear at 3:13 PM on May 25, 2005


dead linky....cache
posted by peacay at 3:15 PM on May 25, 2005


dead linky...

That's sort of the point...
posted by nyterrant at 3:16 PM on May 25, 2005


Do we get a new post every time a filesharing site gets shut down?
posted by Galvatron at 3:20 PM on May 25, 2005


Looks fake.
posted by fire&wings at 3:24 PM on May 25, 2005


Whaddya think the red-on-red "RTJKJAS" at the bottom means?
posted by gleuschk at 3:25 PM on May 25, 2005


Fake or Not?
posted by stbalbach at 3:27 PM on May 25, 2005


Gah, that red dye no. 3 background just gave me eye cancer!
posted by car_bomb at 3:30 PM on May 25, 2005


I vote that this whole thing is a fake, made to get all the yahoos who showed up for star wars off their site.
posted by perianwyr at 3:32 PM on May 25, 2005


I vote fake. Was this place a private or public tracker?
posted by keswick at 3:33 PM on May 25, 2005


Galvatron writes "Do we get a new post every time a filesharing site gets shut down?"

And then we should get a new post every time a new filesharing site goes up to replace the ones that were shutdown...

On preview, this looks quite real. Unless some hacker replaced the page and the FBI press people decided to play along.
posted by nkyad at 3:33 PM on May 25, 2005


Fortunately, soon bittorrent will be working on the anonymous I2P network. Not that it wasn't already possible to download all the Star Wars films on Freenet.
posted by potuncle at 3:34 PM on May 25, 2005


First-time offenders convicted of criminal felony
copyright laws will face up to five years in federal prison, restitution, forfeiture and a fine.
I wonder why I initially read "forteiture" as "torture."
posted by blendor at 3:35 PM on May 25, 2005


Eh. I'll be more impressed when they shut down TPB.

Aww, whasamatta? Can't extend your claws all the way to Sweden? Poor babies.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:35 PM on May 25, 2005


...the more you tighten your grip, DOJ, the more filesharing systems will slip through your fingers...
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:39 PM on May 25, 2005


Damn, WolfDaddy beat me.
posted by keswick at 3:40 PM on May 25, 2005


Wow. This seems like big news indeed, not just "another file-sharing site getting shut down."

It it's fake, then kudos to the hackers. That's amazingly good work.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:40 PM on May 25, 2005


Your overconfidence is your weakness, keswick.
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:41 PM on May 25, 2005


PWN3D!

Hehe, glad I never registered with them. Lot of other good torrent sites out there.
posted by furtive at 3:42 PM on May 25, 2005


wow. so, should one be concerned if they were, say, downloading the new star wars film from there just earlier today?
posted by jimmy at 3:44 PM on May 25, 2005


Your faith in mathowie is yours!
posted by keswick at 3:44 PM on May 25, 2005


Civil_Disobedient writes "Aww, whasamatta? Can't extend your claws all the way to Sweden? Poor babies."

I wonder why Americans keep taking the risk and putting up torrent sites. People should at least get an overseas server. Or leave it for us foreigners to set up the servers and only help running and filling it. Anyway, as potuncle said, soon it all go through a trackerless anonymous network and the cops will be able to go back to their routine duties if chasing criminals, terrorists and such...

On preview, furtive writes "glad I never registered with them": please, try not leave your fingerprints in a crime scene. If you must register, why the hell were the pair mailinator/hotmail created?
posted by nkyad at 3:45 PM on May 25, 2005


boy, good think they haven't found the secret mefi bittorrent tracker yet.

(suckers.)
posted by keswick at 3:45 PM on May 25, 2005


I love all the paragraph returns at the end of the source code. It's nice to know that the DOJ and the DOHS employ skilled folks. Oh wait, this was created in Word...
posted by glyphlet at 3:46 PM on May 25, 2005


Eh. I'll be more impressed when they shut down TPB.

They're working on that one right now...
posted by Auz at 3:47 PM on May 25, 2005


Speaking from the position of someone who has a close friend who works in ICE, if the FBI has their name on it, there is no joint effort, no cooperation between agencies. FBI routinely plays a power grab on other agency's work, and is quite nasty about it too.

My friend has a story about a time the FBI came in and declared themselves to be running the show after a two year investigation by ICE (then INS) had just finished the arrests and property seizures. The FBI took an estimated 80% of the assets and 100% of the credit.

-------------------------
Carpe Domus. Carpe Argentum. Carpe Vehicular.
(Seize the house, seize the gold, seize the car)
posted by mystyk at 3:53 PM on May 25, 2005


so, should one be concerned if they were, say, downloading the new star wars film from there just earlier today?

jimmy:

The FBI press release says: Operation D-Elite targeted the administrators and "first providers" or suppliers of copyrighted content to the Elite Torrents network.

Methinks they're taking the War On Drugs strategy for now and targeting site owners and the original uploaders.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:09 PM on May 25, 2005


so, should one be concerned if they were, say, downloading the new star wars film from there just earlier today?

i think they're mostly going after UPloaders, but who knows?
I almost downloaded EP3, but then i thought "I have a bad feeling about this."
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 4:18 PM on May 25, 2005


A) Thousands and thousands of people are still trading this torrent right now
B) The MPAA going after a tracker site is not news anymore
C) Publicizing their draconian efforts only helps their cause, by spreading the sense of panic and getting people scared (that is what they want you to do).

So I urge you to restrain such a post in the future.
posted by scarabic at 4:28 PM on May 25, 2005


Methinks they're taking the War On Drugs strategy for now and targeting site owners and the original uploaders.

Not so fast (at least not in NYC).

Among the most striking findings was the researchers' examination of arrest trends in New York City, which focused intently on "zero tolerance" policies during Rudolph W. Giuliani's mayoral administration. Marijuana arrests in the city increased tenfold from 1990 to 2002, from 5,100 to more than 50,000, the report said. Nine of 10 of arrests in 2002 were for possession rather than dealing.

The War on Drugs is targeting users more than ever.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:54 PM on May 25, 2005


so, should one be concerned if they were, say, downloading the new star wars film from there just earlier today?

No. The FBI won't go after individual downloaders. And even if the MPAA were to get involved on the civil side (which there is not hint of) your odds of being sued are statistically tiny. In fact, barring a dramatic and unprecedented increase in the lawsuits, you're more likely to die this year from external causes (such as being hit by a Mack truck) then you are to be sued for downloading.

You'll be fine.
posted by gd779 at 5:04 PM on May 25, 2005


They're working on that one right now...

And once again, the pirates are one step ahead...
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:12 PM on May 25, 2005


Individuals who willfully distribute or download copyrighted material risk criminal prosecution (My emphasis)

Surely downloading isn't illegal -- it's the same as buying a bootleg CD, isn't it? It's illegal to make the copies, and to distribute copyright material, but it's not to buy it/get it for free.

Unless they're making the argument that by downloading it to your computer you are making a duplicate of it, although isn't it the sending computer that's doing the duplication?

Any lawyers?
posted by bonaldi at 5:18 PM on May 25, 2005


Quick, somebody defaces the defacement.
posted by NewBornHippy at 5:21 PM on May 25, 2005


I urge you to restrain such a post in the future.

Scarabic, if this were just the MPAA going after some people for uploading some random files, I would agree. But this is the FBI supposedly going after the people behind the Star Wars bittorrent. That is interesting and worth talking about.
posted by nyterrant at 5:27 PM on May 25, 2005


by downloading it to your computer you are making a duplicate of it, although isn't it the sending computer that's doing the duplication?

Well, technically, in demodulating it off your modem, another copy is made. Your DSL/cable modem and Ethernet cards probably both have a small buffer in them, which is another two copies. And each time you watch it, another copy is made for display... if you copy it to another hard disk or burn it to DVD, that's another copy as well.

The problem with BitTorrent is that every downloader is also an uploader, and the IP address of every downloader is thus available via the tracker. So there's no such thing as "just downloading" with BT. People have received takedown notices after "just downloading" BT files; the MPAA or its agents can easily find out who you are. eDonkey is also like this (shares as you download). My advice is, don't use either of 'em.
posted by kindall at 5:28 PM on May 25, 2005


Wow, the FBI web guys use MS Word? Hold me?!? And there HAS to be some significance to "RTJKJAS"...
posted by rzklkng at 5:38 PM on May 25, 2005


The War on Drugs is targeting users more than ever.

Yeah, I meant to say "old skool War on Drugs."
posted by eustacescrubb at 5:43 PM on May 25, 2005


Appears to be real, unless Washington Post was duped too.
posted by baphomet at 6:16 PM on May 25, 2005


Here's the BayTSP letter (typical notice). ...and no, it wasn't me. We see enough of these that I'm not about to torrent something like ROTS. (sorry about the long post):

Re: Unauthorized Use of Twentieth Century FOX Film Corporation Property

Notice ID:XX-XXXXX
Notice Date:23 May 2005 17:02:58 GMT

Dear Sir or Madam:

TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION and its affiliated companies (collectively, "FOX") are the exclusive owners of copyrights in motion pictures.

It has come to our attention that XXXX of XXXXX is the service provider for the IP address listed below, from which unauthorized copying and distribution (downloading, uploading, file serving, file "swapping" or other similar activities) of FOX'S property is taking place. The documentation included at the end of this notice specifies the location of the infringement. We believe that the Internet access of the user engaging in this infringement is provided by XXXXX of XXXXX or a downstream service provider who purchases this connectivity from XXXXX of XXXXX.

This unauthorized copying and distribution constitutes copyright infringement under Section 106 of the U.S. Copyright Act. Depending upon the type of service XXXXX of XXXXX is providing to this IP address, it may have legal and/or equitable liability if it does not expeditiously remove or disable access to the property listed below, or if it fails to implement a policy that provides for termination of subscribers who are repeat infringers (see, 17 U.S.C. §512).

Although various legal and equitable remedies may be available to FOX as a result of such infringement, FOX believes that the entire Internet community benefits when these matters are resolved cooperatively. We urge you to take immediate action to effect removal of the detected infringement listed in the attached report, including:

(1) Notify the account holder of this infringement
(2) Require the account holder remove the infringing material
(3) Disable access to the infringing material
(4) Take appropriate action against the account holder under your Abuse Policy/Terms of Service

We appreciate your efforts toward this common goal. Please send us a prompt response indicating the actions you have taken to resolve this matter. Please reference the above noted Notice ID in all correspondence, which should be directed through: http://webreply.baytsp.com/webreply/webreply.jsp

The undersigned has a good faith belief that use of FOX's property in the manner described herein is not authorized by FOX, its agents or the law. Also, we hereby state, under penalty of perjury, under the laws of the State of California and under the laws of the United States, that the information in this notification is accurate and that the undersigned is authorized to act on behalf of FOX with respect to this matter.

Please be advised that this letter is not and is not intended to be a complete statement of the facts or law as they may pertain to this matter or of FOX's positions, rights or remedies, legal or equitable, all of which are specifically reserved.

Please contact us at the above listed address or by replying to this email should you have any questions. This infringement notice contains an XML tag that can be used to automate the processing of this data. If you would like more information on how to use this tag, please do not hesitate to contact BayTSP.

Very truly yours,

Sarah Bergman
Compliance Manager
BayTSP, Inc.
PO Box 1314
Los Gatos, CA 95031

v: 408-341-2300
f: 408-341-2399

[A pgp public key is available on the key server at ldap://keyserver.pgp.com if you would like to verify the authenticity of this notice.]

Evidentiary Information:
Notice ID: XXXXX
Asset: Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Protocol: BitTorrent
IP Address: XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX
DNS:
File Name: Star Wars III ROTS
File Size: 1537671367
Timestamp: 22 May 2005 10:00:12 GMT
Last Seen Date: 23 May 2005 14:41:48 GMT
URL: XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX:6883\Star Wars III ROTS
Username (if available):

posted by tomplus2 at 6:19 PM on May 25, 2005


"TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION and its affiliated companies (collectively, "FOX") are the exclusive owners of copyrights in motion pictures."

...

...

I'm sorry, what the fuck does that mean? It can't possibly mean what it says.
posted by kafziel at 6:27 PM on May 25, 2005


The constant takedowns have forced me and many other BT users back to Usenet. After the BTEFNet tracker was taken down they started uploading files to the various alt.binaries.* newsgroups much more quickly than they had been while their site was up.

Most of the uploading is being done through sites that are friendly to anyonymous Usenet usage and which do not keep logs. Like BT tracker sites, there is a never-ending supply of anonymous Usenet servers, in case these sites get shut down. Unlike with BT, downloads are pretty much impossible to gauge.
posted by solid-one-love at 6:47 PM on May 25, 2005


But this is the FBI supposedly going after the people behind the Star Wars bittorrent. That is interesting and worth talking about.

why? because its a lame-o star wars flick they been milking for 30 years? because it's the fbi?
posted by quonsar at 7:00 PM on May 25, 2005


This stuff was barely breaking news back in 1999 when the first prequel came out and it's far beyond ordinary now. Why does stuff this even make headlines anymore.
posted by Arch Stanton at 8:09 PM on May 25, 2005


RTJKJAS looks to me like clusters of letters - RT, JKJ, AS - that are side by side on the keyboard.
posted by senor biggles at 8:33 PM on May 25, 2005


The page now shows a godaddy domain placeholder.
posted by Potsy at 9:35 PM on May 25, 2005


"TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION and its affiliated companies (collectively, "FOX") are the exclusive owners of copyrights in motion pictures."

I'm sorry, what the fuck does that mean? It can't possibly mean what it says.


It means that FOX et al. are the exclusive owners of certain copyrights, which are in the medium of motion pictures. It's just a legalism.
posted by dhartung at 10:00 PM on May 25, 2005


I better go tell the Korean grocery that's dubbing a wall of Star Wars videos that it's illegal then. I woulda bought some, but I don't know Korean and they dubbed it all in...
They do soap operas too, if any of you want some...
posted by klangklangston at 11:14 PM on May 25, 2005


So remind me why it's OK to steal someone else's copyrighted material, other than "because I want it and I don't want to pay for it"...?
posted by twsf at 12:25 AM on May 26, 2005


[So remind me why it's OK to steal someone else's copyrighted material]

Not stealing, infringing. And it's OK if you think it's OK, given that it's not illegal in many jurisdictions and there's no compelling evidence of harm from it.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:50 AM on May 26, 2005


What I don't understand is:

A.) Why it's worth anyones' TIME to DL stuff like this. I would rather just pay the 25 bucks for the movie. Fast, easy. :) I make the money to buy this thing MUCH FASTER than the time it would take me to wait for it to download.

B.) Why the U.S. Government cares so MUCH to spend so much money on it, unless they're getting kickbacks from the Film Industry.

I guess I just don't get ANY of this really....?

K
posted by erratic frog at 1:22 AM on May 26, 2005


blah blah blah steal blah blah

Sorry, wrong.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:17 AM on May 26, 2005


So remind me why it's OK to steal someone else's copyrighted material, other than "because I want it and I don't want to pay for it"...?
posted by twsf


This is how I see it: everything, from the objects around you to the techniques developed to make those objects, is copyrighted, patented and/or trademarked. There is precious little that isn't so.

What's the theoretical difference between my friend sharing his copy of Star Wars with me and my friend sharing his copy of "War and Peace"? (If I get a free copy of a book, I'm not going to buy a copy for myself any different then if I get a free copy of a movie.)
Why is one media seen as different from another?
How come on one hand the industry is shoving ipods and other mp3 players down our throats and on the other, we're told it's not ok to share music?

The answer's simple.
In sum, the problem lies not with us, users.
The problem lies with the collision of interests of three mega industries: the content industry, access providers and technology providers. We, users, are not doing some sort of mindblowing technical hack to con/steal, we're very simply putting 2 and 2 together.
If you give me oranges and an orange press, I'm going to make the same orange juice you sell - except mine will be free and I'll share it with my friends and family.

Thankfully I'm not alone here, a recent article in Wired quoted a high-court french judge: "We are in the process of creating a cultural rupture between a younger generation that uses the technologies that companies and societies have made available, such as the iPod, file download software, peer-to-peer networks, etc.," Judge Dominique Barella told Wired News. "It's like condemning people for driving too fast after selling them cars that go 250 kmh."
posted by ruelle at 4:49 AM on May 26, 2005


Feel safer? I don't.

Feel unsafe... perhaps threatened? I don't.
posted by Witty at 5:06 AM on May 26, 2005


If you give me oranges and an orange press, I'm going to make the same orange juice you sell - except mine will be free and I'll share it with my friends and family.

Bad analogy. More like, the oranges are on display outside the shop and you take a few without throwing cash in the self serve bucket. Or your friend does same and gives you some.

Also, War and Peace is out of copyright by now (well the original is), though there is of course a certain amount of leeway in what physical stuff you can lend and relend and sell second hand. I've always thought that authors should get at least some compensation from libraries for copies of their works borrowed (as is, I've been told, the case in the UK). Granted, there is always leakage at the edges of any business, it's jsut that with digital, the proportions threaten to get pretty skewed.

"Content industry"? Bit an insult to the artists, and if I were one of them, I'd be upset, too.

Bottom line- you want content to exist at all, someone has to pay and if you enjoy it all that much, why the hell should it not be you? It's the reason I give to street performers and encourage my darling daughter to do the same (unless, of course, they play saxophone).
posted by IndigoJones at 5:16 AM on May 26, 2005


Um, sorry, color me cynical but does anyone know where elitetorrents used to be hosted?

Because this el busto page is being served off of UCSD's network. So, I mean, the original site might have been as well, OR, this is, well, a hoax.

*avoiding obvious P2P/copyright/"stealing"/convo*
posted by cavalier at 6:09 AM on May 26, 2005


More like, the oranges are on display outside the shop and you take a few without throwing cash in the self serve bucket. Or your friend does same and gives you some.

Surely it's more like you magically remove the seeds out of the orange without hurting the orange or making it any less attractive for someone else to buy, then go and grow your own oranges and give some to your friends.

Bottom line- you want content to exist at all, someone has to pay and if you enjoy it all that much, why the hell should it not be you?

Because I don't enjoy it enough to pay for it (at the price they're selling it anyway).
posted by fullerine at 6:25 AM on May 26, 2005


Copyright is NOT a god given right. It's a legal right. Intellectual property is a legally granted, but LIMITED, protection intended to act as a means of ENCOURAGING the creation of cultural artifacts.

The balance lies between the amount of protection required to encourage creation and the amount of freedom to allow exploration of created culture.

Once an idea leaves your brain/mouth, it is no longer yours. Once a piece of music is heard by anyone other than it's composer - it becomes a part of the larger culture. That is FACT. Copyright and Patent law exists as means to allow those who create ideas to make a living, for a reasonable time.

Mr. Lucas has made his living. Several times over, I might add. Star Wars is part of our culture. No harm will come to Mr Lucas or the MPAA/movie studios as a result of ROTS being downloaded. No harm. Period. And you can't prove that it does.

Furthermore, I don't have to prove that I DID NOT harm you, you have to prove that I DID harm you. That's the way the law is supposed to work.
posted by jaded at 6:29 AM on May 26, 2005


Bad analogy. More like, the oranges are on display outside the shop and you take a few without throwing cash in the self serve bucket. Or your friend does same and gives you some.

It's more like Jesus begs one orange from the shop and then makes enough orange juice for all of God's scurvy children.
posted by sudama at 6:41 AM on May 26, 2005


cavalier: have you read the links in this thread? The FBI said they shut down the site and have executed 10 search warrants against those who run the site. The ICE put up a video with the site in question. The elitetorrents IRC channel even pointed out the ICE video link as proof that they were done for.

The IP belongs to UCSD/SDSC because the FBI had the CATCH team hack the site for them. CATCH is part of the SDSC. [source 1] [source 2]

Not a hoax.
posted by zsazsa at 7:21 AM on May 26, 2005


Wait, so some people think it's ok to download movies and songs, and other people don't? When did this develop, and why wasn't I consulted?
posted by goatdog at 8:07 AM on May 26, 2005


Mr. Lucas has made his living. Several times over, I might add. Star Wars is part of our culture. No harm will come to Mr Lucas or the MPAA/movie studios as a result of ROTS being downloaded. No harm. Period. And you can't prove that it does.

So because George Lucas has made money in the past he should have diminished legal protection than when he began?

No harm will come from ROTS being downloaded? Seems to me that if one person who would have paid to see the film downloaded it instead, well, then the filmmaker has experienced some damage.

The questionable justification people frequently give for illegally downloading movies is: "Well, if they'd make better movies we'd go to see them." But ROTS is/was the most anticipated film of 2005. Is Hollywood now in a position where people refuse to pay for the product if it's too bad or too good?
posted by herc at 8:21 AM on May 26, 2005


So because George Lucas has made money in the past he should have diminished legal protection than when he began?

yes. you missed the whole point herc. go back and read everything in jaded's post that comes before "Mr. Lucas has made his living..."
posted by quonsar at 8:36 AM on May 26, 2005


"Wait, so some people think it's ok to download movies and songs, and other people don't? When did this develop, and why wasn't I consulted?"

Well, goatdog, are you sitting comfortably?

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, everyone was happily singing and dancing, telling stories, playing games, cooking meals for each other, sharing their land and their lives, and teaching each other all that they knew for the sheer blissful joy of it.

Then, one day, a dark cloud fell over Happytown. Evil Mr Big had arrived!

Immediately, evil Mr Big decided that from now on, all the songs, all the stories, all the games, all the land, all the lives, and all the knowledge in the world belonged to him, and to him alone.

If anyone else in Happytown wanted to use any of Mr Big's intellectual property, they would have to pay him for it - in blood!

Evil Mr Big also started television channels and newspapers, which constantly repeated the message that evil Mr Big was kind and good and had created all the knowledge in the world himself. Mr Big's newspapers and TV channels also repeated, over and over, that anyone who sang or told a story without paying evil Mr Big was a thief and a criminal and should be shot.

And many people - though not, perhaps, the majority - eventually started to believe what evil Mr Big's newspapers and TV channels told them. And so, when other people tried to sing or dance without paying Evil Mr Big, they would shout, "Thief! Thief! You're stealing from everybody else!" and go running for Evil Mr Big's henchmen.

And there we are. I leave it to further contributors to continue the story.

(copyright cleardawn productions. all rights reserved. buy your Evil Mr Big dolls now at rupertmurdoch.com)
posted by cleardawn at 8:45 AM on May 26, 2005


twsf writes "So remind me why it's OK to steal someone else's copyrighted material, other than 'because I want it and I don't want to pay for it'...?"

IP owners have broken the "limited exclusive access in exchange for release into the public domain" deal. Therefor I and many others no longer feel bound by the public's half of the deal.
posted by Mitheral at 9:20 AM on May 26, 2005


Mitheral- I think you hit it on the head.
posted by klangklangston at 10:21 AM on May 26, 2005


Thanks for the links Ian, I did not see the fbi link when nykad posted it. Fnord.
posted by cavalier at 10:45 AM on May 26, 2005


It's heartening to see the feds and the corporations set aside their differences and join forces in this wholly disinterested effort on behalf of beleaguered artists everywhere.
posted by gigawhat? at 10:46 AM on May 26, 2005


Seems to me that if one person who would have paid to see the film downloaded it instead, well, then the filmmaker has experienced some damage.

No, I went and saw the movie specifically to make up for that one person, and I challenge you or anyone else to prove that I didn't, or to prove that that one person who did download the movie didn't go and see the movie as well. You can't. And won't ever be able to--at least not without making me really really paranoid.

The loss of potential revenue is what this has always really been all about, and by "potential revenue" I mean naked, crawling, filthy greed. And you can't measure--or prosecute--either.

I did enjoy hissing audibly at the anti-"piracy" advert, though. Didn't make up for the other nearly 4 hours of filmic vomit I had to endure, though.
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:08 AM on May 26, 2005


Look to Sweden!
posted by flippant at 11:17 AM on May 26, 2005


Because I don't enjoy it enough to pay for it (at the price they're selling it anyway).

Then leave it alone. Plenty of diversion, much of it free, that should meet your criteria. Wait long enough, you can see ROTS (love the acronym, by the way) on TV. Or borrow it from a library. Or listen to the radio.

You can be as indignant viz big bidness as you like and for many reasons, and you may ignore the marginal interests of the artists (musicians, n.b., are already being screwed by the recording industry without a cheapskate audience adding to the insult), but taking the product without permission and without payment is, no other way to put it, theft.

IP owners have broken the "limited exclusive access in exchange for release into the public domain" deal. Therefor I and many others no longer feel bound by the public's half of the deal.

Forgive me, I truly don't understand. Which IP owners would these be? What deal would this be? Where is this quote from?
posted by IndigoJones at 11:52 AM on May 26, 2005


WolfDaddy : " The loss of potential revenue is what this has always really been all about, and by 'potential revenue' I mean naked, crawling, filthy greed. And you can't measure--or prosecute--either."

Actually, I see the **AA actions as more pre-emptive than reactive. File-sharing was breaching critical mass as a popular alternative method (not just college students et al..) and it was time to apply the brakes before real damage started to occur.
posted by Gyan at 12:03 PM on May 26, 2005


Then leave it alone.

Why? I'd like to see it now. But that would be illegal.

Much of the argument against piracy seems to be circular in reasoning. I can't do something because I'm not allowed to do something.

It's like watching G.W. backpedal reasons for invasion. "You can't because it will hurt the artists/corporations." Except revenue is up. "You can't because then no one will want to create things." Yet creators continue creating, regardless. "Aww, screw it. You can't because you can't. So there."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:40 PM on May 26, 2005


Gyan, it might have been pre-emptive back in 1997. It's not anymore, and I think we all should know that by now.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:03 PM on May 26, 2005


IndigoJones writes Mitheral: "Therefor I and many others no longer feel bound by the public's half of the deal.

"Forgive me, I truly don't understand. Which IP owners would these be? What deal would this be? Where is this quote from?"


It's not a quote (as far as I know) just how I feel. Copyright protections were designed to encourge people to release artistic works to the public. The deal was if the artist released stuff instead of locking it in a box in the attic the public will grant the artist exclusive profit from the work for a limited time. However copyright owners led by Disney have transformed that limited protection into a perpetual ownership resulting in nothing created after the the 30s entering the public domain. As it stands now if my daughter lives a normal life span she won't see creative works copyrighted the year of my birth enter the public domain before she dies.
posted by Mitheral at 1:59 PM on May 26, 2005


Good one cleardawn! You just got yourself an entry on my blog (not that that's such a huge feat, considering I have all of 4 regular readers, but hey! I enjoyed your little story and that's all the really matters).
posted by shoppingforsanity at 2:38 PM on May 26, 2005


Thank you for the clarification, Mitheral.

Actually, I agree with you on the Disney thing. I'd say that life plus twenty for the sake of surviving spouses (spice?) and grieving orphans is sufficient. But I don't see that bad law, or one I disagree with, gives me the right to break it. Write your congressman. (Yes, I now I'm naive. Goes with belief in the law in general, a point of this little rant. Mind you, the Disneys have to do what they do simply because as a publically held entity they have obligations to their shareholders. The things we do for dividends!)

Back to the piracy thing (curious how "piracy" as a word doesn't seem to carry any emotional weight on this issue).

Civil-Disobedient, when enjoined to defer his pleasures at least a little while, writes:
Why? I'd like to see it now

Yeah, and my daughter wants a Princess Galadriel Barbie doll now, but she ain't gonna get one, not until her allowance is equal to the price. You can't/won't pay, you can't have. No circularity.

She's too young to rationalize her annoyance, but I notice certain methods both in the above remarks and elsewhere this issue is addressed. How to justify what I can do in the shadows with what I would not dare do at Walmart (speaking of evil conglomerates)?

1) Dehumanize the copyright owner. Refer to the Content Industry rather than Struggling Artist. Better yet, leave the artist out of the equation altogether, or assume they are all as rich as Madonna.
2) Accuse him of loathsome sins, like "naked, crawling, filthy greed". Nastier than one's own well dressed upright clean living avarice.
3) Portray him as powerful and self as powerless (Congressman Smith, I want a free download law because I don't like paying for stuff. No? Well, I'll join the upright rebels and be it on your head.)
4) Call his rights arbitrary, or as less respectable because of his success. (He got his. I want mine. Or, rather, I want part of his. Did I mention I don't want to pay for it?)
5)Introduce extraneous matter to the argument, e.g. the merits of copyright law in general (sorry, Mitheral)
6) Introduce rank nonsense into the argument (“Information wants to be free!”)
7) Accuse him of triviality. What does the money mean to a rich man? Don’t know. Is a buck a song really too rich for your blood? As above, try the radio.
8) Portray him or his actions as buffoonish, or on a par with known evil doers.

Leaving aside the value of law as a Social Good, it's partially the cheapskate quality that irritates me. We're talking, what, a dollar a song? Under ten for a movie in a theater, less if you wait, free if you wait long enough.

Okay, I'm done. No doubt a brainwashed lackey of the System, a tool of The Man, but we all have our crosses to bear, even if on this occasion it means standing up for the rights of the Big Guy, cad though he may be.

PS- As a little irony, d'j'ever notice at the bottom of the Metafiilter page the notice:

All posts are © their original authors.

I for one appreciate that
posted by IndigoJones at 3:53 PM on May 26, 2005


More like copywrong...

I thought the general consensus was that pirates are cool...aarggh
posted by schyler523 at 5:17 PM on May 26, 2005


If there's no physical theft, it's not stealing. It's infringement. But you already knew that.

The oranges analogy is a good one if they were magical oranges that immediately replaced themselves.

Can you imagine the nerve of that store owner who wouldn't let the poor people "steal" his wonderful magical oranges?
posted by mrgrimm at 5:17 PM on May 26, 2005


Back to the piracy thing (curious how "piracy" as a word doesn't seem to carry any emotional weight on this issue).

I think that stems from most/some of us who, in the days of AppleII+ and Duran-Duran used to be 13 year old "Pirates" who would take the latest release of Choplifter or Defender and run it through Locksmith 1.5 and change a few machine language parameters to make the "locked" 5 1/4 floppy game a mere 233 KB shared file. We thought we were so cool...
The term Piracy or Pirate means nothing to us, unless they are battling Ninjas!

Was it Wrong then? Probably, but I was in Jr. High, and, well, was smarter than most people putting security codes on 5 1/2 floppys. Today? I wish I never would have donated my Apple II+ and 500+ 5 1/4 floppys full of games to Goodwill.
posted by Balisong at 5:50 PM on May 26, 2005


IndigoJones writes "I'd say that life plus twenty for the sake of surviving spouses (spice?) and grieving orphans is sufficient. But I don't see that bad law, or one I disagree with, gives me the right to break it. "

Not to try and convert you to my side IndigoJones, I think we're too far apart for that, but I don't see it this way. First why should copyright terms be so arbitrary? A teen age writer would gain much more than an author in his 90s from the same effort. And copyrights assigned to corporations are going to be unfair regardless of what duration you set. This kind of variable copyright also is a bitch to administer. With a fixed duration (say 30 years) you know everything published before 1975 would be in the public domain. With a "lifetime" scheme you'd have a different date for each work. Lots of other potential abuses like a 90 year old adding each of his great grand children as a co-creator. Personally the founders copyright of 14 years plus 14 year extension seems just about right to me. A possible three or four generations seems _way_ to long.

Even though it seems to be ineffectual in this modern day of corporation lobbying, citizens disobeying a bad law is a perfectly valid method of protest and a way to work for change. Prohibition is a classic example. In modern times the war on some drugs is being fought with some success in some countries by just this method. Writing my MP makes me feel better but I'm under no illusion that even in Canada this makes much difference. The current levy on computer storage is proof of that.

I'm not surprised the word piracy has been watered down so much to be practically meaningless. It was an over the top association in the first place.

I don't know if you make this distinction but I believe there are natural crimes (murder, rape, criminal polluting, arson, extortion) and busy body laws (solicitation, cannabis possession, sodomy) and social laws(marriage, zoning, truancy, taxation). Copyright infringement is firmly in the third category. It is something that collectively we agree to in the name of social lubrication but there is no fundamental human right to have others not copy or even profit from one's artistic impression. Individuals span the spectrum on this issue from Richard Stallman to Micheal Eisner and the best solution probably lies in the centre somewhere. Personally I feel we've swung much to far to the Disney/RIAA side and that makes it tough to discuss things. It's like trying to have a discussion about best method of enforcing the death penalty when one side is against capital punishment, you are never going to reach a consensus on the best method. Some players in the copyright debate believe a first time, personal, single infraction deserves 5 years in gaol plus monetary punishment, others don't even think it should be a crime.

I see no irony in the copyright on this page, as I said I see no reason to play fair with big media as long as they aren't playing fair with us.

We're talking, what, a dollar a song? Under ten for a movie in a theater, less if you wait, free if you wait long enough.
The "if you wait long enough" bit is what I find so irritating to the point of being evil. I'm only 33 but ROTS will only enter the public domain in my life time if I live longer than the oldest person currently alive today.
posted by Mitheral at 6:47 PM on May 26, 2005


Dammit Mitheral, stop being so eloquent! I'm trying to win over people with mindless invective here!
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:21 PM on May 26, 2005


No, no, I appreciate Mitheral taking the matter seriously. He raises interesting points, and I think is clearly right that one's position is as much as anything a question of sensibility as anything else.

These laws are arbitrary. Aren't all laws? That is to say, your legal categorizations are interesting, and with only a casual amateur interest in law I'm not going to argue with them. Indeed, as I said earlier I agree with you on the Disney thing. But as specific laws are arbitrary (for murder, shall it be death, or life imprisonment, or banishment) I also suggest that the answer is in petitioning the lawmakers.

There is, to my mind at least, something a little self serving in using the argument of Social Protest when one is simply taking a pleasure that the law does not allow. For a Pop Culture reference, recall the Elliot Ness character in The Untouchables who, on being told that prohibition is over, says he thinks he'll go have a beer. A bad law, but a law nonetheless, and he upheld it until the pendulum swung back. I'm with him. Stick it out until the law changes. (Easy for me to say- my grandfather who was alive at the time was down at the speakeasy. And if my mother gets cancer and wants pot, I will find it for her- but that's other fish, clearly.)

Suitable punishment for infringment (thank you Mr Grimm)- treble the market cost of the item infringed? Plus costs? Jail for peddling the stuff. I'm open to suggestion, not that anyone cares what I think. As to the cases of 99 year old authors wickedly adding on great grant children as co-authors, that's a bit of a stretch. Not a lot of 99 year old authors out there. (Come to that, not a lot of teenage authors worth reading, either.)

The fundamental right of property, yes, well, the US founders did intially suggest life, liberty and property before re-write inked in Pursuit of Happiness. I suppose POH might suggest they were more inclined to the free movement of Intellectual Property, at least so long as it was British in origin. Fine for Franklin, maybe not so fine for Dickens. The US got stricter once the US started producing more Intellectual Property. China will do so in due course.

The fundamental right thing, again, that sounds arbitrary. What is a fundamental right? What is Truth? If I'm the artist and I come up with something orginal, good manners at least should limit profit to me. Consider law as the heavy handed extension of good manners. Grab work on the sly in Academia and the charge is plagiarism.

Anyway, a lot of this sounds like just having a mad on the suits. While I have my own gripes with Big Entertainment (lousiness of product, mostly), I simply can't build up that kind of fury, not, as I say, for trivial money. (Though I admit, they could have been faster off the mark in releasing the Marx brothers movies.) Thus my irony comment. Why should the suits not enjoy the same rights that MEFItes enjoy? Because they are rich and obnoxious? Would you cut down every law in England to get at the devil? (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

And what does the copyright mean in practical terms? It means Publisher A can put out a copy of Mill on the Floss that is indistinguishable form Publisher Bs save in type face, paper quality, and preface writer. Does the reader really care who if anyone owns the copyright? Or who makes the profit from putting out the book, or CD or whatever? Is it that really important to you that you not give unto Lucas that which is Lucas'?

Again, if you really feel that way, then time is your ally. ROTS will come out on DVD, most library systems will break down and buy the damn thing, you will be able to watch it at home in better quality that bit torrent can offer. A year later, broadcast television.

Evil? Abu Ghraib is evil. Waiting for movies to hit the aftermarket to avoid shelling out a lousy eight bucks is simply life.

But I'm way past rambling at this point and as you say, we clearly are not going to agree on this one. Wood working machines, on the other hand, now there's a subject we can all approve of.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:05 PM on May 27, 2005


(Why can I not satisfy this itch? Ok, one more time)

Basically this seems to boil down to trying to justify one's not wanting to pay for something that us regular folk are paying for.

Analogies. Infringers are like the guy at the bar who never buys the next round. Asked why not, he claims the price is too high and besides the barkeep should provide him at least a give back. Chutzpah. And cheap. Very unattractive.

Or- they are the guy who gets caught trying to sneak into the theatre. Taken to the manager’s office, he is either genuinely bewildered (a moral ghost); sheepish for he knew what he was doing and admits to a fair cop; or angry because he too knew what he was doing but does not like to admit to himself that it was wrong. Thus, specious arguments to suggest he was not in the wrong, but that the provider of the goods is the bad guy.

It’s common enough, but it’s wrong. Anecdote. Mrs Jones and I were crossing a parking lot when she was in her sixth month of carrying our darling daughter. A guy in a pick up truck driving too fast rounds a corner and nearly hits her. The normally mild mannered I go as ballistic as I ever do (I could pass for Canadian on that score) and remonstrate with him. Clearly he had done wrong, but his immediate reaction was to tell me to eff off and give me the finger. Point- unreflective pride would not allow him to admit he was a being a jerk.

You want to protest the system through civil disobedience? If you honestly think you have a case, then stand up and be counted, sit at the lunch counter where you can be arrested to show the absurdity of the law. Watching a bootleg movie is a pretty lazy form of protest.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:37 AM on May 28, 2005


IndigoJones writes "Watching a bootleg movie is a pretty lazy form of protest."

Well... I can be pretty lazy. So lazy in fact I haven't even pirated anything in at least the last couple years. So as a civil activist (at least on this issue) I'm doing a pretty poor job. But just like the war on some drugs I don't feel the need to actually partake to support the opposition. Current copyright laws are unbalanced. As usual in these cases the means don't justify the end but they do show how rediculously unfair the laws are. If corporations were to get 100% enforcement on the existing laws it would be a disaster economically worse than the war on drugs.
posted by Mitheral at 9:15 AM on May 30, 2005


Mitheral-

I think we got a little off track from the original flashpoint, which was downloading a first run movie. I stand by my views on that. Let the creators profit while they can.

The secondary market, however, where works become less commercially worthwhile and defending copyright becomes a dog in the manger thing, that becomes more interesting.

Because I am curious and persuadable and because you defend your side as forcefully and thoughtfully as you do, I delve deeper. There is an interesting discussion on the issue in, of all places, Pat Choate's Hot Property , mostly coming down on your side. (see final chapter).

Other discussions of interest here, and here.

Some other recent links of interest on recent developments here in the US are here and here. (I' considered creating a post, but I fear I am getting too cranky lately. And I'm no lawyer. )

As to the war on drugs- don't get me started. That is to say, I'm against it.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:02 AM on May 30, 2005


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