Categories » ‘Courts and law’

PirateBay down

December 10th, 2014 by

And so it appears that The Pirate Bay has been raided again, and shut down by Swedish police. This morning I wanted to find some file utility software, and it’s convenient to get it from TPB, even though there are free software out there on the developers’ sites. TPB is not just a place to get free stuff, it is also a convenient place where you don’t need to fill in a firm, request an email to be sent to you and download from a third party place, like I had to to get my file admin tool. Just like YouTube is convenient for browsing songs and full albums, all in one place, easy to use interface and no hassle.

In the pirate community, it has been speculated if this raid is the final nail in the coffin for TPB. Even one of the founders, Peter Sunde who was recently released from prison for having aided piracy, thinks TPB is no good anymore, and would not mind seeing it shot down for good. Well, he may be bitter it did not do for him what he wanted to, but “everyone else” (except the people in the entertainment industry who can’t get their heads around basic things like consumer power) hopes the site will be back soon. If it doesn’t resume delivery of torrents, there will be others.

John


 

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Did the UK give up on piracy?

July 22nd, 2014 by

This just in from VG247:

The British government has decriminalised online video game, music and movie piracy, scrapping fuller punishment plans after branding them unworkable. Starting in 2015, persistent file-sharers will be sent four warning letters explaining their actions are illegal, but if the notes are ignored no further action will be taken.

It’s a step forward that the government bodies of the UK makes it official that “pirates” will be victims of explanatory letters, and nothing else.

The scheme, named the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP), is the result of years of talks between ISPs, British politicians and the movie and music industries. The UK’s biggest providers – BT, TalkTalk, Virgin and Sky – have all signed up to VCAP, and smaller ISPs are expected to follow suit.

I could have told them this years ago, and saved them frustration, time and money!

VCAP replaces planned anti-piracy measures that included cutting users’ internet connections and creating a database of file-sharers.

Which would have been a relatively bigger harm to society than the filesharing itself.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of music trade body the BPI, said VCAP was about “persuading the persuadable, such as parents who do not know what is going on with their net connection.” He added: “VCAP is not about denying access to the internet. It’s about changing attitudes and raising awareness so people can make the right choice.”

I am sure those letters will be heavily coloured by government and industry propaganda.

Officials will still work to close and stem funding to file-sharing sites, but the news appears to mean that the British authorities have abandoned legal enforcement of online media piracy.

If piracy is not a crime – which it can’t be since the authorities choose not to prosecute (are they not forced to, if they are aware of it?) – why go after the content providers?

Figures recently published by Ofcom said that nearly a quarter of all UK downlaods were of pirated content.

Which does not equal to any significant losses. If I do not walk into a store to buy milk, that is not a loss. It is competition.

John


 

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Amazon patents table

May 10th, 2014 by

One of the most important areas of policy for the pirate movement is that of patents. You know, the protection of inventions through rights and legislation. A bit like copyright, patents gives the creator/inventor rights to exploit the process or the object, and copycats can be sued. This may sound fair enough, but patens also cause damage. For example, if a medical company invents a new life-saving medicinal drug, they can patent it and thus control the distribution of it, which in turn means they can decide how much to charge for it and who can buy it. That limits the drug from being used by as many people as possible. Many will even die because they can’t get it or it’s too expense. Have you ever been to a pharmacy and the clerk asked you if you wanted a different medicine that had another name, but was cheaper, and otherwise exactly the same as the more expensive drug? That’s your advantage – the patent isn’t in effect anymore, so anyone can make that drug! Competition is good for mankind.

Patents is a huge thing in the medical business, but some patents are just idiotic, even if they are not about “important things”. Idiotic, but they should not be laughed at, because they display the problems of patents very clearly.

This time I’m talking about Amazon trying to get a patent for shooting still images against a white background, with the camera put on a table.

Is that even an invention? If the patent is not overthrown (it’s already approved), will you need to pay royalties to Amazon every time you photograph something against a white wall?

The reputable website Ars Technica sums the patent itself up like this (the highlight is mine, to emphasize what Amazon wants to have sole rights to):

The white-backdropped photo and video studio layout, which looks and sounds similar to basically every other photo studio in existence, includes: “A front light source aimed at a background, an image capture position located between the background and the front light source, an elevated platform positioned between the image capture position and the background, and at least one rear light source positioned between the elevated platform and the background.

The patent, granted in March, even describes the use of a table: “A subject can be photographed and/or filmed on the elevated platform to achieve a desired effect of a substantially seamless background where a rear edge of the elevated platform is imperceptible to an image capture device positioned at the image capture position.” (Look out yearbook pictures everywhere.)

WTF?????

Amazon now appears to have control over putting a camera on a table and using a white wall or cloth as background. Keep that in mind when you take pics of your kids, folks.

John


 

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    This blog is written by a media pirate, Long John Silver, and is published by an independent publisher to protect the identity of the pirate. If the blog is abruptly deleted, it has been killed by the host, the police or the media industry.