I’ve already summarized my position on internet piracy. It hasn’t changed now.
The Piratebay trial is a joke. The industry wants a show, something to make example of. Politics and law should NEVER mix. Politics defines the law, but then the law must have a practical use, not a political one. It should be objective and impartial. Prosecuting someone because law was violated is one thing, another is prosecuting one because of his political ideas, or to make an example, or to publicize an action.
The Piratebay trial has ENTIRELY different purposes than those exposed during the trial. Already for this reason it should be halted. Closing the tracker is secondary to the feedback across the media, secondary to the real intent behind the trial: it’s a political and cultural war.
The hypocrisy of this fight starts from semantics. Pirates are “thiefs”, and copying is “stealing”. The moment you hear, in every context, an argument that is dramatized beyond its real scope is the moment you should understand that the argument is being manipulated. When you are on the right side you don’t need to spin words and present things under an untrue light. Whenever hypocrisy shows, it reveals a personal interest. And that interest surpasses ANY desire for truth. You take whatever is convenient to you. Lies, truths. What matters isn’t truth, but convenience.
On these sole premises it’s enough for me to judge this trial as dishonest and unfounded. There are no facts, no truths. Just twisted semantics, speculations and convenient arguments. If lies are the foundation of your claims, then those claims don’t deserve to be heard. Even less in trial.
The facts: I read that the main cause of the sentence was that the guys were operating the site for a profit. During the trial the prosecutors tossed around fancy figures about how much those guys earned. I do not care. It’s a trial, either you have proofs, or you don’t. Numbers have to be exact, proven numbers. Opinions don’t matter. If you want a sentence based on those arguments then tell the police to figure it out. Even if it’s money from donations it should be money that must leave a track.
Main point: since this whole argument is already a “shade of gray” kinda thing. Then whether they make money or not is, imo, a good starting point where to draw a line.
IF (case 1) it’s the money the center of the argument then. 1) you track that money, then give it all back to RIAA. 2) if you can’t track the money anymore, then you sentence the piratebay guys to operate the site “publicly”, meaning that donations will be monitored by the police, so that they can control that nothing is being earned. Problem solved. Real criminal organization don’t operate for free. They operate for an interest. Money is the best point where to draw a line between what’s legal and what isn’t. As with drugs, it’s (practically) better to monitor than to forbid.
Sounds fancy? Yes, because it’s another sign that the motivations are elsewhere and that this whole thing is a farce.
IF (case 2) instead the center of the argument is about the service itself. Then you stop the service. You have probably noticed how the RIAA, ESA and other organizations are so cheerful about the event. Yet the Piratebay is operating as always. Why they are happy if the service is sill there and pirates are still sharing illegally as they always did? Because, again, the real intent is secondary to closing the service. The real intent is to win a political battle. The real intent is to sue people for their ideas. Because they challenged the establishment, and so needs to be punished. Made an example of. If the service is the problem, you stop the service first and foremost. You don’t need to put in jail anyone as the guys brought to the trial aren’t guilty of ANYTHING. The existence of the system is. The system is what they should deal with. The act of creating the system is not a violation of the law, the use of the system is. And the existence of the system favors the breaking the law. So you stop the system, but there is NO ONE who is responsible of violating the law.
If not, it’s because it’s a political trial and want to prosecute people because of what they think and represent. It’s not the existence of the system, but it’s political message. During the trial was asked why they don’t sue Google, as Google also indexes illegal material. The answer was that Google “cooperates”. Hence the Piratebay is to sue because they don’t have the right attitude, because they challenge openly the industry. For their ideas.
IF (case 3) the argument is the copy of material, that is forbidden by the law. Then the Piratebay guys ARE INNOCENT. Clean. No proofs were brought at the trial that those individuals shared themselves illegal material. They provided a service. They aren’t directly responsible of anything and cannot be processed for these motivations.
There aren’t ANY other arguments that are coherent. The problem is either money, the service itself, or the material being distributed. Yet the industry sole concern is to hit the individuals. Fine them for fancy amounts of money and put them in jail. Why? Because it’s a political and cultural problem, whose real impact is entirely symbolic. The problem is, politics shouldn’t enter a trial. This can’t be allowed and it’s THIS to set a worrying precedent. That you can be sued for what you think or for what you represent. For your political ideas. Or for your intentions. For behaving outside the norm they’ve set. Because you threat the establishment and they can’t allow it.
Absolutely nothing of what happens here is new. With every counterculture that grows to a menacing point the result is that individuals are hit for their political ideas. If no proofs exist, they are invented. You hit innocents if you have to. What matters is the result.
But while history demonstrates that countercultures never survive for long, it also demonstrates that there’s no victory. This industry is dead. What we have now is a “shock wave” that started with the internet. Sharing. The circulation of ideas. If I could go in a shop, take an apple and copy it, and then go back home with my copy, it wouldn’t be called “stealing”, it would be called a miracle. The truth is that the cultural importance of the internet is way bigger than its negative impact on the industry and innocents involved (people losing jobs): growing pains.
“Intellectual property” is a fraud invented to protect the status quo. This industry doesn’t anticipate trends or evolution, it stops them. The premise and original intent is: things have to stay the same. They threat that we’ll have a world with no musicians, no writers, no artists. It’s childishly naive. They want us to believe that this world and our future needs them. That this industry, the way it exists now, is indispensable. They want us to believe that we can’t live without them. It’s not. It’s dead weight. It proved that it cannot adapt, that it cannot favor the development of culture, that the singular economical interests come first and foremost.
Well, we don’t need any of that. This is a cultural battle that is way more important than its specific aspects. If the industry can’t adapt or transform, then it has to go. It’s garbage. And I can assure that we won’t lose anything of what’s important in there. We’ll have musicians, writers and artists. Better musicians, better writers and better artists because the culture circulates a lot more and is able to reach a lot more people. This is progress: knowledge as a human right, and not as a privilege.
If this industry has still money to waste to found RIAA, ESA and others, then it means there is no crisis. A crisis leads to cut what is superfluous. This is no crisis. They are one step from saying that the economical crisis is caused by pirates. But we know that the pyramid is reversed. Crisis fall from the top. Those guys up there are those responsible. They are the cause, we pay – as always.
This is a cultural battle: they are trying to convince us we’re guilty. They give us their own sins. They make mistakes, they blame us.
My practical response to all this is small and simple: I stop giving them money. I stop buying games, music, DVDs, going to see big movies productions. It doesn’t mean “more piracy”, it means “I can do without you”. I’ll buy more book and supports what I think is worth of my money. I’ll pay for what is a good service and not for what is a desperate defense of an obsolete system.
Boycott the rest. The sooner they go, the better for everyone. With or without Piratebay, show them they have no future.
Stop pirating, and stop giving them money.