Potent messages of impotent industries

Published: Friday, December 21st 2007

I should probably know better than to open my mouth but the obvious has to be stated on this one. For anyone that is net Savvy enough to know what BitTorrent is, the news that TorrentSpy has just lost its court case against the MPAA isn't exactly surprising.

Hearking back all the way to Naptser we seem to have an annual tag teaming of court cases brought about by the RIAA and the MPAA in order to bring these "nasty pirate companies" such as TorrentSpy to heel.

Sites documenting the ins and outs of the case are plentiful so I won't go into detail. (For more info see the BBC report as it's quite neutral)

After every one of these cases new technologies spring up to either to protect people's privacy better or make the technology better (Naptser giving way to Kazaa and others which gave way to the BitTorrent protocol).

The recording and movie industries are worried because they are no longer the gate keepers to content and can charge what they like for it. As such the "dirty pirates" must be prosecuted even if they are, as in TorrentSpy's case, nothing more than a pointer to where the content is being held.

The great amusement in this particular case is that the only reason the MPAA "won" in this instance is because of TorrentSpy's refusal to provide the tracker and user data because this was a breach of Dutch Data Protection laws. As such the MPAA won by default.

Had this truly been a court case, it would have come to light that TorrentSpy provide a framework for people to post tracker data about any files they have on their machines and indeed they don't have copies of any of the physical files. The MPAA probably would have still had them closed down but their legal case was always going to be shaky.

So TorrentSpy will be closed, they will be bankrupted but there will be a dozen smaller companies waiting in the wings to see if they can bleed the MPAA that little bit drier.

You see the big problem here is that the MPAA can't let up now. It doesn't have the mechanics in place to distribute online properly (unlike same music where iTunes and others provide the service) not least because of the antiquated territorial boundaries films get sold by.

As such we'll be seeing another legal case next year - maybe ISOHunt will be next - and another company collapsed but then dozens more set up for a brief stab at providing content to the people.

The quote from the MPAA spokesman is great:

"The court's decision... sends a potent message to future defendants that this egregious behaviour will not be tolerated by the judicial system," John Malcolm, the MPAA's executive vice president and director of worldwide anti-piracy operations, said in a statement.

"The sole purpose of TorrentSpy and sites like it is to facilitate and promote the unlawful dissemination of copyrighted content. TorrentSpy is a one-stop shop for copyright infringement."

What's most amusing is that according to many sources, music being downloaded from "official" sources is almost as much as that being downloaded illegally. Surprising how given the tools, a cessation of hostility towards the users and a price point that accurately reflects the product being sold and the consumer comes to the party once again.

The MPAA still has a lot to learn about the Internet - one wonders how much it will cost them in legal fees in the mean time.

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"Potent messages of impotent industries"
Published on
Friday, December 21st 2007
rant censorship distributed computing DRM media movies piracy
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