Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image


It’s all been pirates this week. Pirates in Somalia and now pirates in Sweden.

They have jailed the Pirates Bay lads.

This post is not about any issues of intellectgual property and copyright.

The way Pirates Bay works means they do not host any material. It’s more like a directory or a search engine. It allows folks to share torrent files which never even pass through the Pirate Bay servers.

These lads are therfore at best tangential to IP theft but I’m not really too interested in that either though given the horrors of some of the DRM software big business has foisted upon us over the last few years I’m tempted to have at least a little sympathy for four chaps cocking a snook by basically helping facilitate the C21st equivalent of swapping tapes of speccy games in the playground.

What I’m really concerned about is it’s yet another intrusion onto the freedom of the ‘net because they are coming thick and fast these days. I really don’t like the precedent this sort of thing sets. Will Google get done for allowing one to find kiddie pr0n. I appreciate that is somewhat different as Google don’t in anyway set out to do that but why not. That would be for the children afterall so how can anyone complain? Or the current UK munterings about government “helping” fund super high-speed broadband for all (Gordoom was on about it on the telly today). That’s nice of them isn’t it? They’re all just fenceposts.


  1. nbc says:

    Hi Nick,

    Do you remember TV Links being shut down for linking to copyrighted content? The site owner was arrested but I can’t find any subsequent info on what happened to him.

  2. J.T. Wenting says:

    These guys were promoting criminal behaviour and providing others the tools to commit crimes.
    Both are crimes in their own right.
    Sadly they were jailed for only a year, they should have been put away for much longer, and in forced labour camps with the proceeds of their work going to those they caused financial losses.

    DRM is a pain, but in a world where everything that’s not locked down is seen by many as being free to steal a sturdy lock on the door is essential to retaining what is rightfully yours.

    Working in software development, I have seen at very close quarters the damage piracy can do (these pirate 2 pirate networks are used also to distribute pirated software).
    Friends and former colleagues have lost their jobs because of piracy becoming so rampant the companies they worked for could not survive.
    I have worked with companies that had to raise the price of their products by 50% just to cover the cost of piracy protection and to keep afloat in a market where 90% of potential customers resort to shoplifting instead of buying your product.
    That’s the reality in the business today if you sell shrinkwrapped software to end users.
    If you sell to corporate customers the numbers are a bit better, with “only” 35-60% being lost to piracy in most countries.

    In the music and movie industry, the average worldwide is something like 80% losses due to piracy.

  3. NickM says:

    I see your point and agree(ish) but…

    (a) It wasn’t quite mine.

    (b) And note “at least a *little* sympathy”. DRM of certain forms actually violates parts of at least UK law. And that is why I have a little sympathy. If it stops someone backing up for their own puposes then that breaks the law. If it sticks malware on your computer it is much more than a pain in the arse…

    The answer is new and innovative marketing and distribution strategies. For example I hate having to buy a full version of software which I will only use once. OK trial versions sometimes do the trick. But if they watermark output then it’s useless. Why can’t I rent it for a day or a week? I’d do that.

    And I am not going to be drawn any further into this – note my third para.

Leave a Reply