Archive for April 17th, 2009

Pirate Bay founders found guilty

A court in Sweden has jailed four men behind The Pirate Bay (TPB), the world’s most high-profile file-sharing website, in a landmark case“, says BBC.

So, the four founders were convicted, even if the files were not hosted in their servers. According to DMCA — that Sweden doesn’t abide to — if you help others to pirate in any way, you are guilty. So they got themselves convicted.

In my opinion, they are indeed guilty — they have been total assholes to lawyers who have sent them takedown notices over time. These dumbasses think that they are some kind of revolutionist heroes. Yes, a revolution is needed for copyright laws and the entertainment industry today, but these guys haven’t realized that in this day and age there is only one way to start a revolution: work through the existing system’s limitations and lobby extensively for new laws. Anything other approach will be shot down by the system and the corporations. This is not 1789 France. You can’t win with riffles, and picketing or rage anymore. You simply can’t ignore the laws. We live in a bureaucratic, corporation-led world, and so you will have to work through these constrains to change the world (e.g. via Creative Commons which is a clever approach that doesn’t cancel the current laws, so it can’t piss off the establishment to come after you). This Gandhi approach works: if you don’t buy the RIAA/MPAA-bound products, these empires will eventually fall, but it’s the only way to do it.

I hold the same opinion about the anti-Scientology Anonymous group: they go at it the wrong way by picketing outside the Scientology buildings and hacking their web sites. Oh, rest assured, I don’t like Scientology one bit, but writing a complaint to their Congressman is probably a more productive way to fix the problem.

I wrote this blog post not to debate if the Pirate Bay founders are guilty or not though. Instead, there was a comment on CNN that caught my eye:
Mohammad: “In my country, if we don’t share new movie, there are no ways to get it!”

The issue here is political. It has nothing to do with royalties, or the entertainment industry, or cheated artists. It has to do with something that’s bigger than any of that: the communication between people from different places in the globe that can’t communicate otherwise because of religious or political reasons. If the only way to get touched artistically, and learn about the lives and hopes, and dreams of the western people is to pirate their precious movies and music, then that’s what you will have to do. Cultural communication is more important than the billion dollars entertainment industry. But I am sure MPAA/RIAA would disagree, although in this case CIA probably wouldn’t.