And while defenders of this bill will insist it’s only designed to target truly infringing sites, let’s just recall a small list of sites and technologies the industry has insisted were all about infringement in the past: the player piano, the radio, the television, the photocopier, the phonograph, cable tv, the vcr, the mp3 player, the DVR, online video hosting sites like YouTube and more. All of these things turned out to be huge boons for the industry. And yet, with a law like this in place, the old industry gets to kill off technologies they don’t understand. Scary stuff.

Harvery Anderson, Mozilla General Counsel and Vice President of Business Affairs:

Recently the US Department of Homeland Security contacted Mozilla and requested that we remove the Mafiaa Fire add-on. The ICE Homeland Security Investigations unit alleged that the add-on circumvented a seizure order DHS had obtained against a number of domain names.

Our approach is to comply with valid court orders, warrants, and legal mandates, but in this case there was no such court order.

Here’s where you can install the Mafiaa Fire add-on.

Valve’s Gabe Newell said it best, “Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem.” Users flock to sites like MegaUpload, TVShack, and in the past, Napster, because they offer additional functionality and convenience. Look at Netflix, RDIO, MOG, Spotify: They all charge a fee for access to the same material that can be downloaded freely. People who care about their time don’t bother to download illegally. These services thrive because they offer the utmost in convenience, which is something the media companies have failed to provide yet.
The Copyright Industry – A Century Of Deceit

It is said that those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. In the case of the copyright industry, they have learned that they can get new monopoly benefits and rent-seeker’s benefits every time there is a new technology, if they just complain loudly enough to the legislators.

The past 100 years have seen a vast array of technical advances in broadcasting, multiplication and transmissions of culture, but equally much misguided legislators who sought to preserve the old at expense of the new, just because the old was complaining. First, let’s take a look at what the copyright industry tried to ban and outlaw, or at least receive taxpayer money in compensation for its existence:

It started around 1905, when the self-playing piano was becoming popular. Sellers of note sheet music proclaimed that this would be the end of artistry if they couldn’t make a living off of middlemen between composers and the public, so they called for a ban on the player piano. A famous letter in 1906 claims that both the gramophone and the self-playing piano will be the end of artistry, and indeed, the end of a vivid, songful humanity.

In the 1920s, as broadcast radio started appearing, another copyright industry was demanding its ban because it cut into profits. Record sales fell from $75 million in 1929 to $5 million four years later — a recession many times greater than the record industry’s current troubles. (Speaking of recession, the drop in profits happened to coincide with the Great Depression.) The copyright industry sued radio stations, and collecting societies started collecting part of the station profits under a blanket “licensing” scheme. Laws were proposed that would immunize the new radio medium from the copyright industry, but they did not pass.

In the 1930s, silent movies were phased out by movies with audio tracks. Every theater had previously employed an orchestra that played music to accompany the silent movies, and now, these were out of a job. It is quite conceivable that this is the single worst technology development for professional performers. Their unions demanded guaranteed jobs for these performers in varying propositions.

In the 1940s, the movie industry complained that the television would be the death of movies, as movie industry profits dropped from $120 million to $31 million in five years. Famous quote: “Why pay to go see a movie when you can see it at home for free?”

In 1972, the copyright industry tried to ban the photocopier. This push was from book publishers and magazine publishers alike. “The day may not be far off when no one need purchase books.”

The 1970s saw the advent of the cassette tape, which is when the copyright industry really went all-out in proclaiming their entitlement. Ads saying “Home taping is killing music!” were everywhere. The band Dead Kennedys famously responded by subtly changing the message in adding “…industry profits”, and “We left this side [of their tape] blank, so you can help.”

The 1970s also saw another significant shift, where DJs and loudspeakers started taking the place of live dance music. Unions and the copyright industry went ballistic over this, and suggested a “disco fee” that would be charged at locations playing disco (recorded) music, to be collected by private organizations under governmental mandate and redistributed to live bands. This produces hearty laughter today, but that laughter stops sharp with the realization that the disco fee was actually introduced, and still exists.

The 1980s is a special chapter with the advent of video cassette recorders. The copyright industry’s famous quote when testifying before the US Congress – where the film lobby’s highest representative said that “The VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone” — is the stuff of legend today. Still, it bears reminding that the Sony vs Betamax case went all the way to the Supreme Court, and that the VCR was as near as could be from being killed by the copyright industry: The Betamax team won the case by 5-4 in votes.

Also in the late 1980s, we saw the complete flop of the Digital Audio Tape (DAT). A lot of this can be ascribed to the fact that the copyright industry had been allowed to put its politics into the design: the cassette, although technically superior to the analog Compact Cassette, was so deliberately unusable for copying music that people rejected it flat outright. This is an example of a technology that the copyright industry succeeded in killing, even though I doubt it was intentional: they just got their wishes as to how it should work to not disrupt the status quo.

In 1994, Fraunhofer Institute published a prototype implementation of its digital coding technique that would revolutionize digital audio. It allowed CD-quality audio to take one-tenth of the disk space, which was very valuable in this time, when a typical hard drive would be just a couple of gigabytes. Technically known as MPEG-1 Audio Layer III, it was quickly shortened to “MP3” in everyday speak. The copyright industry screamed again, calling it a technology that only can be used for criminal activity. The first successful MP3 player, the Diamond Rio, saw the light in 1998. It had 32 megabytes of memory. Despite good sales, the copyright industry sued its maker, Diamond Multimedia, into oblivion: while the lawsuit was struck down, the company did not recover from the burden of defending. The monopoly middlemen tried aggressively to have MP3 players banned.

The century ended with the copyright middlemen pushing through a new law in the United States called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which would have killed the Internet and social media by introducing intermediary liability — essentially killing social technologies in their cradle. Only with much effort did the technology industry manage to stave off disaster by introducing so-called “safe harbors” that immunizes the technical companies from liability on the condition that they throw the end-users to the wolves on request. The internet and social media survived the copyright industry’s onslaught by a very narrow escape that still left it significantly harmed and slowed.

Right after the turn of the century, the use of Digital Video Recorders was called “stealing” as it allowed for skipping of commercials (as if nobody did that before).

In 2003, the copyright industry tried to have its say in the design of HDTV with a so-called “broadcast flag” that would make it illegal to manufacture devices that could copy movies so flagged. In the USA, the FCC miraculously granted this request, but was struck down in bolts of lightning by courts who said they had way overstepped their mandate.

What we have here is a century of deceit, and a century revealing the internal culture inherent in the copyright industry. Every time something new appears, the copyright industry has learned to cry like a little baby that needs more food, and succeeds practically every time to get legislators to channel taxpayer money their way or restrict competing industries. And every time the copyright industry succeeds in doing so, this behavior is further reinforced.

It is far past due that the copyright industry is stripped of its nobility benefits, every part of its governmental weekly allowance, and gets kicked out of its comfy chair to get a damn job and learn to compete on a free and honest market.



— by Rick Falkvinge for TorrentFreak

As part of a collaboration between City of London Police and the entertainment industries, last year several file-sharing related sites had their domains seized by their registrar. Now, a prolonged process initiated by registrar EasyDNS has come to a conclusion, one which found that site domains cannot be seized on the simple say-so of the police or copyright holders.

There isn’t a fight between Silicon Valley and Hollywood, and there never has been. Every new technology that Hollywood has decried as being terrible has eventually turned out to be a massive boost to Hollywood’s profits and ability to make, promote, and distribute its works. If that’s a “fight,” then it’s an odd one, in which we in the tech community keep providing all of the weapons Hollywood needs to succeed… only to see you frequently aim them at your own foot before finally working out how to use them properly.

#Anonymous Guide to Fighting the MAFIAA Six Strikes

The game is about to enter a new phase and the MAFIAA is finally making it’s play with Six Strikes. Basically, the ISPs will now work in co-operation with the MAFIAA to streamline consumer shakedowns and disconnect corrupted nerds from the network.

This post is about how the six strikes plan is flawed because users will simply encrypt their file sharing; but I feel there are other criticisms to be made aside from being doomed to ultimate failure.

  • Supporters of stronger intellectual property enforcement — such as those behind the proposed new Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills in Congress — argue that online piracy is a huge problem, one which costs the U.S. economy between $200 and $250 billion per year, and is responsible for the loss of 750,000 American jobs.
  • These numbers seem truly dire:a $250 billion per year loss would be almost $800 for every man, woman, and child in America. And 750,000 jobs – that’s twice the number of those employed in the entire motion picture industry in 2010.
  • The good news is that the numbers are wrong — as this post by the Cato Institute’s Julian Sanchez explains. In 2010, the Government Accountability Office released a report noting that these figures “cannot be substantiated or traced back to an underlying data source or methodology,” which is polite government-speak for <b>“these figures were made up out of thin air.”</b>
The Target Isn’t Hollywood, MPAA, RIAA, Or MAFIAA: It’s The Policymakers

In reactions to my last column on TorrentFreak, concerning how we must go on the offensive for our freedom of speech, I saw many questions and emotions asking what it takes to get Big Monopoly – the copyright industry – to listen to the net and change their ways. A number of suggestions were made, from boycotts to petitions. Alas, this is entirely the wrong way to bring about change.

Big Monopoly has learned in the past century that when they look like a little spoiled brat having a tantrum, politicians will throw taxpayer money their way to shut them up. Therefore, this is a behavior they emulate as soon they are given a good enough excuse. It’s simply a reinforced, learned behavior.

A boycott against Big Monopoly will not work. Any noticeable drop in profits will cause them to throw a tantrum at policymakers and complain how their profits are dropping due to piracy, and request harder enforcement of their copyright monopolies at the expense of our civil liberties and the freedom of the net.

Buying more of their products (yeah, right) will not work. Any noticeable raise in profits will cause them to commission reports to policymakers illustrating their grandiose importance to the economy as a whole, suggesting that they are the direct reason for at least several hundred per cent of the gross national product. Therefore, they will argue, they need additional protection as a national interest.

Doing nothing will not work either, as we are constantly on the retreat in civil liberties.

There is no course of action or nonaction that the net or its individuals can take that would cause Big Monopoly to behave differently from today.

Attacking Big Monopoly is simply barking up the wrong tree. It’s a complete waste of effort.

Also, I’m quite concerned at the overall attitude. I see many on the net somehow trying to please the copyright industries – if they weren’t as obnoxious, would the copyright industry perhaps show a more lenient attitude…?

As if!

This attitude, I fear, is one of the most dangerous of all, for it puts the individual in a subservient position to the corporations. Reality is quite different, but we are only as powerful as we believe ourselves to be. Those who see themselves in shackles will behave with restraint. On the other side of that coin, those who refuse to accept any limitation placed upon them will find that most, if not all, limitations can be broken.

Obviously, the copyright industry’s dream is having us – the people – seek its consent for everything we do, just like they have trained politicians to do for over a century. When you discuss boycotts, you are playing straight into their game of thinking that it is the copyright industry’s desires that matter for the task of building a sustainable society.

They don’t. Their desires are irrelevant. As are they.

They are just one entrepreneur among many. The role of any entrepreneur is to construct a use case and a business case that allow them to make money, given the current constraints of technology and society. They don’t get to dismantle civil liberties, even if they can’t make money otherwise.

The target for any action isn’t the copyright industry. That’s just playing into their hands as imagined kings of the hill.

Rather, the target is – and must be – the policymakers. They are the ones who are actually cutting down on our civil liberties, not Big Monopoly. Normally, they see issues like the copyright monopoly and freedom of the net as totally peripheral to policymaking; the topics du jour are the same as they’ve been in the past 50 years: healthcare, schools, energy and defense.

This is both a problem and a blessing.

It is a problem, as they don’t realize the gravity of the situation. Most governments in the West would be completely baffled to realize that people are actually holding rallies for freedom of speech: they would not understand why. As in, “we have that already”. In their minds, we do. In ours, however, it’s being cut away.

But it is also a blessing, as they’re not politically entrenched on the issue, thinking it is peripheral. As most political parties haven’t identified themselves with one side or the other, thinking everybody were in agreement already, the policymakers can be made to turn quickly at little internal cost of prestige.

At the end of the day, there’s just one single thing that politicians care about, and that is their job. Their job must be put on the line over our freedoms of speech, or change will not happen. This was the (very successful) formula behind founding the Pirate Party in 2006.

This is also what we saw with the SOPA/PIPA battle in the United States, as politicians realized that there were a serious amount of votes to be lost or harnessed over freedoms of speech on the net. As that realization sunk in, the copyright industry’s efforts were dead in the water.

In Europe, 250 million people preserving and sharing contemporary culture in disrespect of an immoral and overreaching copyright monopoly is not “a business problem that you can put an end to”. It is a power base of 250 million voters. This is the message that policymakers must be sent in the loud and clear.

Once the policymakers get that message, the copyright industry can make their money any legal way they can or go bankrupt in the process, and nobody will care whichever way they go, not any more than you would care about the tire industry or the glass blowing industry.

— by Rick Falkvinge

While you were watching some award show on Viacom's propaganda network called MTV

The rich have gotten richer, the corporations have came up with new excuses to keep you in poverty, the US has continued the terrorist campaign that is drone warfare, the MAFIAA has made more money to lobby your online rights away, Viacom advertisers have made more money to brainwash you into buying shit you don’t need/killing yourself with diet products to obtain a gaunt figure that the patriarchy finds satisfying, and the legislature is busy being useless by restricting abortion rights and not fixing the economy that’s been broken for six years. Not to mention the police all over have become more like the Gestapo than ever before.

It’s all a distraction to keep your mind off of what’s really going on.

Over the past few months several Hollywood studios have asked Google to remove links to the “free-to-share” Pirate Bay documentary TPB-AFK. The film’s director, Simon Klose, has contacted the search engine in an attempt to have the links put back online but thus far without success. Meanwhile, film studios continue to submit new DMCA requests to censor the documentary. 

After a long wait The Pirate Bay documentary TPB-AFK was released to the public earlier this year.

The film, created by Simon Klose, follows three Pirate Bay founders during their trial in Sweden. True to the nature of the site it can be downloaded for free.

Through this model the film’s director hopes to reach the broadest audience possible. However, several film studios are obstructing this goal by sending DMCA notices to Google, asking the search giant to remove links to the documentary.

Any movie, book, song, or piece of software can be easily obtained for free on the Internet. Because of this, virtually *any* sale of a movie, book, song, or piece of software can be considered a voluntary donation.

In other words, for quite a few years now, the whole entertainment industry has been running on the donation model. If the donation model didn’t work, then the industry would have died a long time ago. Instead, it’s alive and thriving.

Apparently, you can trust a lot of people to pay a lot of dollars.

—  Anonymous comment on a torrentfreak story, exposing the hard facts about the donation model. Those greedy copyright pigs should be thankful for what we’re feeding them already.
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