Pirate Bay Bad News

April 17, 2009

pirate-flag-half-mastSo the Pirate Bay lost their Court case, which is a shame. What really made me nearly choke on my breakfast though was this quote from one of the music industry  mouthpieces:

“There has been a perception that piracy is OK and that the music industry should just have to accept it. This verdict will change that.”

This quote couldn’t illustrate more how clueless they are, and why they are ulrimately doomed to failure. As a friend of mine put it, widespread cultural attitudes are not going to change because of laws, so no matter how many people they prosecute and put in jail, people are not going to just turn around and uninstall their torrent clients. Instead, they’re going to get more pissed off, fight back more aggressively, and in the end they’ll win.

On a tangent, however, while reading up on the Pirate Bay stuff, this also came to my attention — that the fourth defendent in the case is actually a well-known suspected neo-nazi. This doesn’t seem to have been widely reported, but it looks like the Pirate Bay crew took in serious donations from Carl Lundstrom, who is heavily involved in extreme-right politics.

Some of the news regarding the links between Lundstrom and the Pirate Bay crew seems exaggerated (claims that he was a stakeholder, for example), and the Pirate Bay trio also claim that Lundstrom was included in the lawsuit because he has a bad reputation and so it helps to make them look bad. When it comes down to it, however, there are no excuses for making such alliances, even if the Pirate Bay was only taking donated money and equipment. If anything, that potentially puts them in a position where they hold obligations to an extreme right figure.

While the Pirate Bay’s fight should be supported, their actual politics have often come across as shallow and sometimes opportunistic in the past, which is unfortunate. Likewise, working with the extreme right in any capacity is something that can only be condemned.

Image credit: Atom X

I’ve been following the debate surrounding this op-ed by Mark Helprin. Helprin, who keeps getting referred to as a sci-fi writer but not as a fellow at the conservative Claremont Institute, basically makes the claim that not only are copyrights a good thing, but they should be extended to last perpetually. As in, forever.

There’s been a spirited rebuttal posted at this wiki where they make several valid points, including Helprin’s mistaken understanding of public goods. The main point, however, that copyrights are something desirable and good, is never questioned. Certainly not by Helprin, and not by the wiki (at least last time I checked).

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