Pirate Bay Goes to Jail

So, everyone seems to agree that the Pirate Bay case is fascinating (well, I don’t know about “everyone” really, but me and some other people anyway) but what I am wondering if anyone has real positions on the issue(s)?

I’ll briefly relate my own experience: my book was pirated as PDF, almost certainly through a security breach at the publisher. After being notified, the publisher’s attorneys pursued notice and takedown on all of the sites where the bootleg was available. All of the sites complied with the request EXCEPT for Pirate Bay, who wrote back basically to say “Fuck You, we pride ourselves in flaunting your laws.”

Now generally, I am very sympathetic to the idea that information wants to be free, a proponent of liberal application of fair use, and fan of the digital frontier organization, open source software and etc. However, there ought to be basic protection of intellectual property at the purest level (for instance in the case of my publisher and Pirate Bay). Right?

I mean, do people agree that Pirate Bay is in some sense in the wrong, and should (in terms of civil society) be held accountable for their actions? Or, do people have radically different views than mine?

To be honest, I struggle with these questions, but come on, when someone steals your stuff, and you ask them nicely to stop distributing for free (or to profit from ad revenues) and they say fuck you – shouldn’t the authorities take them to task?

Categorized as General


  1. When I first started to download content illegally, it was because record stores were getting away with charging $18 for a new release, and the RIAA was adamantly against distributing music online. They thought they could solve their problems with series of lawsuits. The music industry consisted of oligopolies and the consumers were being screwed — and so the world responded with napster. It took YEARS for industry to embrace online distribution. Well, they finally did with poor implementations like music-leasing services (e.g. Rhapsody and other subscription-based services). When iTunes opened up its music store, they released tracks wrapped in DRM and sampled at 128kbs. I continued to pirate music, because I didn’t like iTunes on my PC and used Windows Media Player instead. I also preferred to listen to my music encoded at 256kbps or higher. My reasons for pirating were because the few players in the industry dictated how I should listen to music, and what rights I should have.

    Now with Amazon MP3, I can download those higher quality tracks with no DRM. And it’s fast, and easy as hell. I gladly pay 99 cents for a song, or $10 for the CD because they’re not screwing me. Heck, I’d even pay up to 35% more because it’s so convenient and fair.

    For as long as we live now, digital content is going to be available through illegal channels. The Pirate Bay is not the only problem, and their failure to abide by takedown notices isn’t going to change anything that much. I think the real challenge is to find a way to make the user want to pay for content versus stealing it. Don’t blame the intermediary; blame the user.

    In your case, Jason, I don’t think too many people are pirating eBooks. The thought of reading a book in PDF form on a computer screen doesn’t appeal to too many people (I would hope). But with the Kindle, and other eBook readers, it will become a growing problem. Moving to a more digitized approach to distribute content, however, the production and distribution costs for books will go way down — and theoretically so will the price. When a great product hits a great price, through a great medium, I think the problem resolve itself.

  2. The problem doesn’t exist with the illegal distribution of the the content itself but with the fact that volume distribution of content allows for add revenue. If you’re a site that claims to have access to 50000 ebooks, songs etc you can support higher add revs. No pirating service give two shits about the content, its simply a factor of the more content that is available on their site the more add revenue.

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