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The Rest => General Discussions => Topic started by: Annubis on January 19, 2012, 08:03:57 PM

Title: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Annubis on January 19, 2012, 08:03:57 PM
The department of Justice (USA) has just seized Megaupload (China based) with 18 of their domains.
The FBI raided their data centers in the Netherlands, Canada and Washington.
Warrants were emitted against Kim Dotcom and his employees. The former and some others were arrested in Auckland, New Zealand. The rest are being tracked.

http://torrentfreak.com/megaupload-shut-down-120119/

They are charged with:
- Engaging in a racketeering conspiracy
- Conspiring to commit copyright infringement
- Conspiring to commit money laundering
- and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement

« An indictment unsealed today by the Department of Justice claims that MegaUpload has caused the entertainment industries more than $500 million in lost revenue and generated $175 million “in criminal proceeds.” »

I seriously can't stomach how the USA have no respect at all for other countries and just bully everyone. I'm actually ashamed my own government let the FBI raid a data center in Canada.

All this was done without SOPA or PIPA.
There is no word either about what is to happen to the thousands of people who had subscriptions.

Also, related: http://gizmodo.com/5877679/anonymous-kills-department-of-justice-site-in-megaupload-revenge-strike
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Hidoshi on January 19, 2012, 08:18:20 PM
It's a 2 year investigation which found that MegaUpload was quite deeply guilty. When 90% of your content is found to be illegal and you have taken no steps towards anti-piracy, there is a reason for your indictment.

Dude, MegaUpload are the bad guys here.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Annubis on January 19, 2012, 08:32:19 PM
It's a 2 year investigation which found that MegaUpload was quite deeply guilty. When 90% of your content is found to be illegal and you have taken no steps towards anti-piracy, there is a reason for your indictment.

Dude, MegaUpload are the bad guys here.

They followed the DMCA takedowns. Youtube is working on the same basis.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Hidoshi on January 19, 2012, 08:36:06 PM
They followed 3 takedowns, out of 14,500 claims (approx). That isn't compliance. It's just shitty lipservice.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Yggdrasil on January 19, 2012, 08:43:46 PM
I like to use Mediafire anyway. :p
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Annubis on January 19, 2012, 08:47:11 PM
I'll just make it clear that I'm not defending Megaupload. What I am against though is how this was all done.
To go back to the Canada part; we have legal entities in this country. The fact they forebode letting Canada's enforcement force seize something on Canadian soil is appalling.
Also, to shut down a China based company... from the USA... and also take down all of their internet domains while they have not yet been judged guilty.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Yoda on January 19, 2012, 09:22:10 PM
The FBI took over in Canada b/c I have it on good authority that The Royal Mounted Police are currently engaged in tracking a willy Dice outside of Moosejaw, Saskatchewan. (Wanted for berating helpless customers. Being impolite is a crime in Canada)
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Ashton on January 19, 2012, 09:29:29 PM
They followed 3 takedowns, out of 14,500 claims (approx). That isn't compliance. It's just shitty lipservice.
That's not the point. The point is that the American government are being tremendous douchebags, strongarming anyone and everyone they deem to be criminals, both in and out of their country. I am fucking appalled at how this was handled, and frankly, you should be too.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Eusis on January 19, 2012, 11:01:52 PM
They followed 3 takedowns, out of 14,500 claims (approx). That isn't compliance. It's just shitty lipservice.
That's not the point. The point is that the American government are being tremendous douchebags, strongarming anyone and everyone they deem to be criminals, both in and out of their country. I am fucking appalled at how this was handled, and frankly, you should be too.


I haven't followed it too closely, but at the least I do think this proves SOPA and PIPA are pointless and only harmful despite the cries for it: if the US Government feels like shutting down a website badly enough then apparently it will happen.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: MeshGearFox on January 19, 2012, 11:42:13 PM
They followed 3 takedowns, out of 14,500 claims (approx). That isn't compliance. It's just shitty lipservice.
That's not the point. The point is that the American government are being tremendous douchebags, strongarming anyone and everyone they deem to be criminals, both in and out of their country. I am fucking appalled at how this was handled, and frankly, you should be too.


More importantly, NOW how am I going to pirate all those obscure Otar albums that never got a proper CD release?
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Demon_Princess_Kay on January 20, 2012, 12:39:27 AM
My two cents. It's not megaupload's fault it's the people who uploaded all the stuff's fault. Sure they may have not taken any steps to prevent it, but it's like placing the blame on a landlord when someone is storing illegal weapons in their buildings. Even if they actively know about it it's still the person who own's said illegal property's fault as long as you do nothing to aid them. Ignoring a crime is not a crime. Megaupload isn't guilty. Of course I'm no expert on law but I've always been under the impression that witnessing a murder and not reporting it isn't a crime it simply makes you an asshole, but not a criminal, etc I could be wrong.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Vanguard on January 20, 2012, 09:10:47 AM
My two cents. It's not megaupload's fault it's the people who uploaded all the stuff's fault. Sure they may have not taken any steps to prevent it, but it's like placing the blame on a landlord when someone is storing illegal weapons in their buildings. Even if they actively know about it it's still the person who own's said illegal property's fault as long as you do nothing to aid them. Ignoring a crime is not a crime. Megaupload isn't guilty. Of course I'm no expert on law but I've always been under the impression that witnessing a murder and not reporting it isn't a crime it simply makes you an asshole, but not a criminal, etc I could be wrong.

There are good Samaritan laws that put you at fault for not reporting a crime, actually. They're not federal, but some states do have them.

I get a lot of music from MegaUpload, but there are plenty of other sources.

What's more upsetting is that the US is clearing playing Team America World Police when they have no real legal jurisdiction to do so.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Ashton on January 20, 2012, 05:30:45 PM
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120120/00373617487/megaupload-details-raise-significant-concerns-about-what-doj-considers-evidence-criminal-behavior.shtml

I seriously think now that this action was taken as revenge for SOPA not going through. Some of the evidence presented is shoddy and misleading.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: ZeronHitaro on January 20, 2012, 06:50:05 PM
I don't have the article link but a piece I read the other day raises an interesting point. There were quite a few perfectly legal users of MegaUpload who were given no warning to retrieve their files before the site was taken down (some people use MU as temporary storage while transferring computers, networks, ect.) Are they going to get their 'property' back? The only way this can happen is if the FBI brings MU back up online.

To understand where I'm coming from think of it this way: You rent a space at a storage facility, legally, pay your money and stow let's say $1000 worth of furniture. The next day the facility is raided as part of a drug bust and the police have to seize every piece of storage as evidence in order to search for the drugs that are in 1 out of every 3 units. You have no drugs, you did no crime. As soon as the investigation ends, the police are legally obligated to hand back over the seized evidence to its original owner.

The FBI really stepped in the crap this time. I'm willing to bet there's a bare minimum of 10,000 legal users of MU. Amongst the millions of files that site sees they're really only left with three bad options:

-Waste large amounts of time and resources manually going file by file and account by account to see what is legal and who 'owns' it; then return the files one by one.
-Bring MU back online temporarily in order for everyone to get their property back; but there's no way to do this without activating all the 'pirate' links once more, making them guilty of the same crime they're charging MU with now.
-Do nothing, basically making them a corrupt law enforcement group which ignore the very laws they're trying to enforce.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Ashton on January 20, 2012, 06:56:44 PM
As soon as the investigation ends, the police are legally obligated to hand back over the seized evidence to its original owner.
No, they're not. In fact, I've read reports before of police seizing the property of innocent individuals, and at the end of the investigation sold them at police auctions. Now, how widespread this is is a subject of contention, but nonetheless it HAS happened.

Anyone storing their files there are mostly likely out of luck.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: ZeronHitaro on January 20, 2012, 07:06:28 PM
I believe that no problem. XP But I'm still willing to bet those sales were illegal by terms of black letter law. Hmm, I'm going to have to research this in depth more later. I'm quite curious now what the law explicitly says regarding that.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Dade on January 20, 2012, 07:06:47 PM
As soon as the investigation ends, the police are legally obligated to hand back over the seized evidence to its original owner.
No, they're not.

100% accurate:

http://www.pajiba.com/miscellaneous/the-department-of-homeland-security-has-shut-us-down.php

This site was shut down because ONE site on the same network was hosting kiddie porn, they got all  their shit taken (including a LOT of "intellectual property" (lolSOPA)) and still have yet to get it back. It's been 5 years since that happened.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Ashton on January 20, 2012, 07:11:45 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if they just trashed everything after the investigation and flipped everyone else the bird.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Dade on January 20, 2012, 07:19:06 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if they just trashed everything after the investigation and flipped everyone else the bird.

I think that's in their S.O.P. when it comes to taking down basically ANYTHING.

On the Megaupload topic. Eh I'm not happy the FBI are involved in this. At the very least you work with local entities and appeal to them. It sucks that legit users got shafted, but with the majority of users are using it for pirating shit, well....that sucks.

BitTorrent is used for plenty of legit things, so it falls to law enforcement to shut down the actual USERS. Megaupload doesnt have that kind of shield, unfortunately.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Kevadu on January 20, 2012, 07:59:35 PM
BitTorrent is used for plenty of legit things, so it falls to law enforcement to shut down the actual USERS. Megaupload doesnt have that kind of shield, unfortunately.

Megaupload certainly can (er...well...could) be used for plenty of legitimate things.  Whether it actually was or not is a different story.

Comparing it to Bittorrent silly, though.  Bittorrent is a protocol.  An open and well-documented protocol with many clients that use it.  The actual hosting of torrents is completely separate from development of the protocol and clients that use the protocol.  No single entity controls Bittorent.  You can shutdown sites that host torrents and go after users, but that's about it.  Saying 'shut down Bittorrent' is like saying 'shut down FTP'.  It doesn't make any sense.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Akanbe- on January 20, 2012, 07:59:44 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if they just trashed everything after the investigation and flipped everyone else the bird.

I think that's in their S.O.P. when it comes to taking down basically ANYTHING.

Team Sp00ky got all his shit taken at the Canadian border and I don't think he ever got it back either.  Took computers, cameras, and lots of streaming equipment.  They usually don't give it back, he heard.

Quote
On the Megaupload topic. Eh I'm not happy the FBI are involved in this. At the very least you work with local entities and appeal to them. It sucks that legit users got shafted, but with the majority of users are using it for pirating shit, well....that sucks.

Not surprising at all really given the racketeering and money laundering charges.  Of course, the legitimacy of these charges have come into question...

Anyway, still not a fan of this Team America shit they pulled.  Doesn't really earn any goodwill from other countries when we strong arm our way in.  I really dislike that mentality.

I haven't followed it too closely, but at the least I do think this proves SOPA and PIPA are pointless and only harmful despite the cries for it: if the US Government feels like shutting down a website badly enough then apparently it will happen.

True, but at least this way there's going to be more red tape involved as well as be more publicized/criticized.  It would have been too easy under SOPA for corporations to take things down without a word edgewise.  They've already proven to be untrustworthy as they've already issued tons of DMCA takedown notices for IP that isn't even theirs.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Lucca on January 20, 2012, 08:01:49 PM
As much as I agree that America being little Mister Pushy is kinda crappy, let's be real - people rarely used Megaupload for legit things. If the owners can't police their site, unfortunately this is the result. It's sucks others got in the crossfire.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Dade on January 20, 2012, 08:04:42 PM
BitTorrent is used for plenty of legit things, so it falls to law enforcement to shut down the actual USERS. Megaupload doesnt have that kind of shield, unfortunately.

Megaupload certainly can (er...well...could) be used for plenty of legitimate things.  Whether it actually was or not is a different story.

Comparing it to Bittorrent silly, though.  Bittorrent is a protocol.  An open and well-documented protocol with many clients that use it.  The actual hosting of torrents is completely separate from development of the protocol and clients that use the protocol.  No single entity controls Bittorent.  You can shutdown sites that host torrents and go after users, but that's about it.  Saying 'shut down Bittorrent' is like saying 'shut down FTP'.  It doesn't make any sense.


I think you missed my point....I was saying that Megaupload is screwed and rightly so because everything passes through their hands. When the law comes knocking, and there's an entity they can go after, they go after it. When it comes to BT services, it's then on the users.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Kevadu on January 20, 2012, 09:08:50 PM
BitTorrent is used for plenty of legit things, so it falls to law enforcement to shut down the actual USERS. Megaupload doesnt have that kind of shield, unfortunately.

Megaupload certainly can (er...well...could) be used for plenty of legitimate things.  Whether it actually was or not is a different story.

Comparing it to Bittorrent silly, though.  Bittorrent is a protocol.  An open and well-documented protocol with many clients that use it.  The actual hosting of torrents is completely separate from development of the protocol and clients that use the protocol.  No single entity controls Bittorent.  You can shutdown sites that host torrents and go after users, but that's about it.  Saying 'shut down Bittorrent' is like saying 'shut down FTP'.  It doesn't make any sense.


I think you missed my point....I was saying that Megaupload is screwed and rightly so because everything passes through their hands. When the law comes knocking, and there's an entity they can go after, they go after it. When it comes to BT services, it's then on the users.

That's completely different from what you said before...you said Bittorrent has legitimate uses as a shield so law enforcement had to go after the users.  Now you're saying that the difference is the fact that Megaupload is a central entity to target.  Those are two completely different ideas.  The latter I agree with, but that's not what you said at all!  The quote is right there...
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Vanguard on January 21, 2012, 02:26:25 AM
As much as I agree that America being little Mister Pushy is kinda crappy, let's be real - people rarely used Megaupload for legit things. If the owners can't police their site, unfortunately this is the result. It's sucks others got in the crossfire.

That MegaUpload was used primarily for pirating is of no import. The FBI arrested people in countries in which they had no jurisdiction. That's an abuse of authority far more heinous than some copywriter infringement.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Jonathan Ingram on January 21, 2012, 02:52:56 AM
That`s too bad. I`ve downloaded terabytes of games and movies from them. I`m not too concerned though. There are still dozens of services like that out there, not to mention torrents.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Lucca on January 22, 2012, 12:06:17 AM
As much as I agree that America being little Mister Pushy is kinda crappy, let's be real - people rarely used Megaupload for legit things. If the owners can't police their site, unfortunately this is the result. It's sucks others got in the crossfire.

That MegaUpload was used primarily for pirating is of no import. The FBI arrested people in countries in which they had no jurisdiction. That's an abuse of authority far more heinous than some copywriter infringement.

I won't argue with you on that one. Sigh, America. :/
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Hidoshi on January 22, 2012, 05:42:50 PM
They followed 3 takedowns, out of 14,500 claims (approx). That isn't compliance. It's just shitty lipservice.
That's not the point. The point is that the American government are being tremendous douchebags, strongarming anyone and everyone they deem to be criminals, both in and out of their country. I am fucking appalled at how this was handled, and frankly, you should be too.


I ordinarily would be, but it seems the FBI may have been well within their legal rights to go and do the arrests. One of the largest reasons being that MegaUpload had servers in the USA, which gives the FBI permission to apply for seizure in other countries. When that's done, then the country has the right to accept or deny the FBI's claim. Clearly, they didn't deny it.

This isn't an abuse of the law either. In some cases diplomatic crisis arises from such disputes of jurisdiction, be it due to extradition or other matters. Other times, it's a simple arrest and the foreign powers agree with each other that jurisdiction is temporarily granted. There's nothing abusive about it.

MegaUpload had US servers, therefore it was facilitating unlawful acts on US soil. The people responsible for the service had done nothing significant to counteract the unlawful acts going on within their service, therefore it was reasonable that they were to be held responsible. Since they weren't local to the US, foreign jurisdiction was sought, granted, and arrest made. This isn't uncommon, nor something you only hear about from the United States.

From the FBI (http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/faqs):

Quote
On foreign soil, FBI special agents generally do not have authority to make arrests except in certain cases where, with the consent of the host country, Congress has granted the FBI extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Now, as to some people who've argued (and Kay isn't the first, I've made this argument for Google's position against Murdoch) that MegaUpload is just the landlord being blamed for the actions of the tenant, that would hold up if the landlord was in compliance with police searches for unlawful tenants. In this case, the landlord was uncooperative, even arrogant in the face of authority. So really, what leg does MegaUpload have to stand on? It's unreasonable to support them.

That`s too bad. I`ve downloaded terabytes of games and movies from them. I`m not too concerned though. There are still dozens of services like that out there, not to mention torrents.

And you sir, are part of the problem.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Ashton on January 22, 2012, 08:40:37 PM
That`s too bad. I`ve downloaded terabytes of games and movies from them. I`m not too concerned though. There are still dozens of services like that out there, not to mention torrents.
You are clearly a tremendous retarded monkey though.

Mark, nobody is arguing that Megaupload is innocent - they clearly are not. The problem here is that some of these charges are purposely drummed up to make them out to be bigger criminals than they really are. The US MAY have the legal right to make these arrests, yes, but the WAY it was handled is below our self-proclaimed "protectors." And just a skim over the reports proves that this isn't about justice - it's about money, plain and simple; our government now kowtows and panders to private sectors instead of furthering the common good.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Eusis on January 22, 2012, 08:58:17 PM
That`s too bad. I`ve downloaded terabytes of games and movies from them. I`m not too concerned though. There are still dozens of services like that out there, not to mention torrents.

Yeah, I'm really not going to tolerate that here.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: MeshGearFox on January 22, 2012, 10:51:36 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/jan/13/piracy-student-loses-us-extradition

Oh hey the US can arrest people in the UK and extract them at will too, sweet.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 23, 2012, 10:45:17 AM
It's a strange universe we live in where folks who have brazenly made truckloads of money (Kim Dotcom made $42 million according to some reports) off of blatant stealing and money laundering on a massive scale become staunchly defended... but that's the crazy world we find ourselves in with Megaupload.

I'm a card carrying member of the EFF and make my living writing software and those guys and anybody who pirates games/music can burn for all I care. Megaupload is particularly heinous when you consider the lines of business that appear to have been laundering money through them also. Megaupload going down in flames is absolutely a good thing at face value, but I agree there are some disturbing legal issues regarding HOW it has been pulled off that people need to be aware of.

Still though, it was smart to go after Megaupload because their activities go way beyond any kind of rational defense. The methodology used behind the seizure and arrests? That definitely warrants skepticism and a closer look.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Vanguard on January 23, 2012, 10:55:01 AM
Pirating music has almost zero effect on the creators of it. You can't prove otherwise, unless you go with the logical fallacy of, "every illegal download is a lost sale."

Things like software, I know nothing about, and can't speak to, but in the arts, all of the IP laws in place benefit major corporations like Sony or Time Warner more the people who produce content.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: MeshGearFox on January 23, 2012, 10:56:29 AM
I work on software for a living and really DOn'T care if people pirate stuff.

But the issue here isn't piracy -- the issue is that the US government is abusing its powers and policing OTHER countries when it has no right to do so. Which is nothing new but it's still fucked up.

I also really fail to see how 10 years in jail is a reasonable punishment for a 23 year old that ran a blog linking to torrents. I mean, christ, just issue a fine. Is it really worth ruining someone's life over?

More importantly, video games and Hollywood movies really don't contribute much to society. I mean, look. Even if piracy gets so bad that the video game industry ceases to exist, will anything of value actually be lost? Do video games save lives?
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 23, 2012, 11:05:48 AM
Pirating music has almost zero effect on the creators of it. You can't prove otherwise, unless you go with the logical fallacy of, "every illegal download is a lost sale."

I've heard this time and again and agree that the argument is not provable.

However the other argument is still stealing. If you steal a loaf of bread from a grocery store that was going to end up in the trash tomorrow anyway, it is STILL STEALING even though the store didn't lose a sale. You can argue about whether or not that means it matters from a moral and philosophical standpoint, asking whether there is a victim in that instance, but it is STILL STEALING.

Look I'm the last guy that's going to say corporations are being horribly victimized in some really meaningful way by this - I think more independent study is really needed on the effects - but I'm sick of people pretending that what they are doing isn't stealing just because nobody can prove there is an actual victim beyond any shadow of a doubt.

My gut says you can't get something for nothing - there are always consequences. But gut ain't worth much. What we do know is that if you steal something, it is 100% certain that nobody is getting compensated. Except in the case of places like Megaupload where the people getting compensated are the people doing the stealing. I just fail to see how that can possibly be a good thing.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 23, 2012, 11:06:25 AM
I work on software for a living and really DOn'T care if people pirate stuff.

Fair enough.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Ashton on January 23, 2012, 11:09:04 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qkyt1wXNlI

Thought this was relevant. It may not be completely applicable to games and software, but I thought it's an interesting viewpoint.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Vanguard on January 23, 2012, 11:12:35 AM
Pirating music has almost zero effect on the creators of it. You can't prove otherwise, unless you go with the logical fallacy of, "every illegal download is a lost sale."

I've heard this time and again and agree that the argument is not provable.

However the other argument is still stealing. If you steal a loaf of bread from a grocery store that was going to end up in the trash tomorrow anyway, it is STILL STEALING even though the store didn't lose a sale. You can argue about whether or not that means it matters from a moral and philosophical standpoint, asking whether there is a victim in that instance, but it is STILL STEALING.

Look I'm the last guy that's going to say corporations are being horribly victimized in some really meaningful way by this - I think more independent study is really needed on the effects - but I'm sick of people pretending that what they are doing isn't stealing just because nobody can prove there is an actual victim beyond any shadow of a doubt.

My gut says you can't get something for nothing - there are always consequences. But gut ain't worth much. What we do know is that if you steal something, it is 100% certain that nobody is getting compensated. Except in the case of places like Megaupload where the people getting compensated are the people doing the stealing. I just fail to see how that can possibly be a good thing.

Sure, but this IS a victimless crime. Analogies tend to be logically fallacious because you create a false equivalency. MP3s are not bread, and stealing them does not harm the musicians the way stealing food from a local co-op does.

I'm not saying it's not stealing, but this argument is based on fear tactics. "Pirating music is stealing, you know who else steals? Criminals."

You know how I support artists? I go to concerts and buy shit directly from their merch table.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 23, 2012, 11:16:17 AM
Yeah, I've seen Gaiman's opinions on this. It's definitely worth watching (I listened again) as I think it is a great example of the other side of the argument - aka the "pirating doesn't cost sales" argument.

However I'd also suggest two things:

1) There is a significant difference between people lending books/games to each other and somebody going in to a bookstore, stealing the book, and xeroxing it thousands of times and making money off the copies.

2) Giving books away = advertising. Gaiman is a savvy guy taking advantage of how he perceives the "pirating" market is working. If folks want to do that of their own volition, that's their choice. It should also be their choice, however, to decide NOT to do that.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 23, 2012, 11:19:25 AM
Pirating music has almost zero effect on the creators of it. You can't prove otherwise, unless you go with the logical fallacy of, "every illegal download is a lost sale."

I've heard this time and again and agree that the argument is not provable.

However the other argument is still stealing. If you steal a loaf of bread from a grocery store that was going to end up in the trash tomorrow anyway, it is STILL STEALING even though the store didn't lose a sale. You can argue about whether or not that means it matters from a moral and philosophical standpoint, asking whether there is a victim in that instance, but it is STILL STEALING.

Look I'm the last guy that's going to say corporations are being horribly victimized in some really meaningful way by this - I think more independent study is really needed on the effects - but I'm sick of people pretending that what they are doing isn't stealing just because nobody can prove there is an actual victim beyond any shadow of a doubt.

My gut says you can't get something for nothing - there are always consequences. But gut ain't worth much. What we do know is that if you steal something, it is 100% certain that nobody is getting compensated. Except in the case of places like Megaupload where the people getting compensated are the people doing the stealing. I just fail to see how that can possibly be a good thing.

Sure, but this IS a victimless crime. Analogies tend to be logically fallacious because you create a false equivalency. MP3s are not bread, and stealing them does not harm the musicians the way stealing food from a local co-op does.

I'm not saying it's not stealing, but this argument is based on fear tactics. "Pirating music is stealing, you know who else steals? Criminals."

You know how I support artists? I go to concerts and buy shit directly from their merch table.

My point is merely that I don't think you can actually prove the crime is victimless given current evidence. I don't think you can prove the crime has a victim either. I think the verdict is still out there and unfortunately the research is so one sided because the large interests have trumped up studies that don't seem to add up. But just because they haven't proven their case doesn't mean the opposite (piracy is victimless) automatically becomes true. Hence I think more independent study and research on this is absolutely essential. It may turn out that piracy is, in fact, totally awesome and good just like everybody who does it desperately wants it to be.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: MeshGearFox on January 23, 2012, 11:20:10 AM
Even if pirating music isn't a victimless crime, I don't think the victims are being victimized in a particularly meanigful way. They're being wrongly denied sales. They are not losing their ability as a whole to sell their original product.

Also there are worse, and totally legal, things you can do to a person.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 23, 2012, 11:21:39 AM
Also there are worse, and totally legal, things you can do to a person.

Agreed. But we're not building straw men here.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Ashton on January 23, 2012, 11:28:17 AM
The problem, I think, are recording companies and publishers, who at the end steal from artists far more than actual piracy does and are the biggest sponsors of shit like this. It's almost always publishers/recording companies/etc that crusade against this and frankly I'm getting tired of the U.S. government's kowtowing and turning our country into a corporate government. I consider it damn near to regulatory capture, if it isn't already.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Vanguard on January 23, 2012, 11:31:56 AM
The problem, I think, are recording companies and publishers, who at the end steal from artists far more than actual piracy does and are the biggest sponsors of shit like this. It's almost always publishers/recording companies/etc that crusade against this and frankly I'm getting tired of the U.S. government's kowtowing and turning our country into a corporate government. I consider it damn near to regulatory capture, if it isn't already.

Because they're the ones losing money. I can break out industry numbers about how much a new act makes, how much it costs to promote a single song, how much of each sale goes to the artist once they repay their advance etc. There's a reason the industry is losing money, and it's not because I have a 20G of stolen music on my hard drive.

And dyeager, the research is out there. You don't think the RIAA, the big four record companies, and their lawys don't make sure it doesn't get coverage or legitimacy?
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 23, 2012, 11:35:46 AM
The problem, I think, are recording companies and publishers, who at the end steal from artists far more than actual piracy does and are the biggest sponsors of shit like this. It's almost always publishers/recording companies/etc that crusade against this and frankly I'm getting tired of the U.S. government's kowtowing and turning our country into a corporate government. I consider it damn near to regulatory capture, if it isn't already.

I agree with this point wholeheartedly. But still - just because recording companies and publishers are unsympathetic jerks does not mean that piracy is suddenly okay. It's still a straw man - a very sympathetic straw man, but a straw man nonetheless.

For the most part it is clear that folks around here have really thought carefully about the topic and have reasonably well informed opinions on this - as well informed as we can get with all the noise and static around this issue. I simply respectfully suggest that when we talk about this topic, we need to talk about it for what it really is, which is taking things for free that are not being offered for free. That is stealing whether it is being done for what may in fact be noble and correct reasons or not.

But even more importantly I would respectfully suggest that we don't really know whether this is victimless or not. I agree 100% that it has not been proven to any rational person's satisfaction that pirating has tangible victims, but I disagree vehemently that we know with certainty it is victimless. And since I don't think we can reasonably know one way or another, I have personally made a choice to always err on the side of stealing probably having a downstream consequence.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 23, 2012, 11:38:22 AM
The problem, I think, are recording companies and publishers, who at the end steal from artists far more than actual piracy does and are the biggest sponsors of shit like this. It's almost always publishers/recording companies/etc that crusade against this and frankly I'm getting tired of the U.S. government's kowtowing and turning our country into a corporate government. I consider it damn near to regulatory capture, if it isn't already.

Because they're the ones losing money. I can break out industry numbers about how much a new act makes, how much it costs to promote a single song, how much of each sale goes to the artist once they repay their advance etc. There's a reason the industry is losing money, and it's not because I have a 20G of stolen music on my hard drive.

And dyeager, the research is out there. You don't think the RIAA, the big four record companies, and their lawys don't make sure it doesn't get coverage or legitimacy?

I totally agree it seems far more likely that the reason the music industry is losing money is probably a lot more complicated than piracy.

If you feel you've seen research that you believe definitely solves the victim/victimless argument for piracy, I'd be more than happy to read it. Even if it doesn't I'm always interested in info on the topic.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Ashton on January 23, 2012, 11:49:11 AM
Exactly, they've had years of acting like a bunch of douches (read some of the stories here (http://www.trenchescomic.com) about the darker side of game development - you'll notice that consistently, publishers are fucking douches) and earning money for it, and now they're being even bigger douches because people are realizing how douchey they're being. What's worse is that the government is enabling their behavior. It's sickening.

I'm not defending piracy but damn near everyone who is actively supporting this shit don't actually produce things themselves. I deeply want to support artists and software producers because I have many friends and family who are artists and software producers, but every time I buy a book, or a music CD, or a game, thinking of how 10% - if that - end up going to the artists/producers and the other 90% goes to greedy corporate douches can give me significant pause at times.

On the victimless crime thing: I think piracy should be classified differently from stealing. Piracy is piracy and stealing is stealing, they are two distinct offenses that should carry different weights when it comes to accusations and sentencing.

When you steal a loaf of bread, you are actively depriving someone of a product they provide. It's possible that someone else might have bought it, but the physical item is no longer there for the market to take advantage of, sales wise. When you pirate something, you are not depriving a company of a physical object or the software used. They have 'lost' nothing, in theory. There's always the argument that people who pirate might have gone out and bought the game, but that's a logical fallacy publishers fall back on to look like the victims; if people wanted to, or could, buy the games, they probably would - and that's not considering the possibility of piracy being a demo, of sorts, to others. There are cheapskates who just pirate with reckless abandon despite having the means to buy games, but I honestly think they're the minority.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 23, 2012, 12:00:10 PM
Great points on all counts. I agree across the board. As much as I don't care what happens to Kim Dotcom and others at Megaupload, it is damn near impossible to defend the way it has been executed and the timing of course is particularly suspicious.

I also think that the loaf of bread analogy is clearly imperfect, especially given the physical nature of a loaf of bread (hence why I went with a loaf that was going to end up in the garbage regardless - but yeah, imperfect). I also totally agree that the whole "lost sale" theory as presented by publishers is nothing but fallacy.

Again, the only point I'm making here is simply that as much as I don't think publishers have proven their argument that they are being victimized by piracy, I remain equally unconvinced that taking something for free that is not being offered for free has no consequences whatsoever. Perhaps it doesn't. It may be that I will be completely proven wrong at some point, and it sounds like there are some folks right here at RPGFan that think I am wrong about it. But just as I believe it is on the publishers to prove they are actually losing money, I believe it is also on the pirate community to prove nobody is being victimized before engaging in it. That's just my personal opinion.

There is clearly money to be made in piracy - that much we can agree on, correct? Why if there is no intrinsic actual value to what is being pirated? The publisher argument doesn't add up to me even for a second, but neither does the piracy argument.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Annubis on January 23, 2012, 12:14:38 PM
It's hard to not see a correlation between all this

http://activepolitic.com:82/News/2012-01-22b/While_Being_Held_without_Bail_Megaupload_drops_Universal_Lawsuit.html
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 23, 2012, 12:16:46 PM
Yeah, very shady.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Hidoshi on January 23, 2012, 12:40:50 PM
The O'Dwyer case is an awful example. When you comply with a cease and desist and then post up a new website that says "fuck the police" on it, you're flouting the law, and should expect repercussions. O'Dwyer's been put up as some kind of poster child for the free speech cause by guys like Jimmy Wales, but it's stupid. O'Dwyer was in the wrong. Is the force being used excessive? A bit, sure, but he's still a bad example. Proponents need to use better examples if they intend to actually fight an abuse of the law.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 23, 2012, 12:46:27 PM
One thing I find most interesting about the Megaupload case is on the one hand, we hate that publishers, who don't actually create the work being consumed, end up getting most of the money from artists. But then on the other hand you have sites like Megaupload that ALSO make crazy amounts of money off of those same artists but get no compensation whatsoever. The part where it is not okay for publishers to gyp artists by giving them only a tiny fraction of the revenue generated by their work but it IS okay for pirates to make money off of those same artists without even TOKEN compensation... it just makes absolutely no sense to me.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Ashton on January 23, 2012, 12:52:17 PM
The O'Dwyer case is an awful example. When you comply with a cease and desist and then post up a new website that says "fuck the police" on it, you're flouting the law, and should expect repercussions. O'Dwyer's been put up as some kind of poster child for the free speech cause by guys like Jimmy Wales, but it's stupid. O'Dwyer was in the wrong. Is the force being used excessive? A bit, sure, but he's still a bad example. Proponents need to use better examples if they intend to actually fight an abuse of the law.
I didn't realize making websites insulting people was basis for repercussion. "The law" isn't the playground bully, who can bash people's heads in for insulting them. When should I expect people on my doorstep for arguing for corporate separation from government? 5 years? 10? I may well be that the guy is a tremendous douche, but being a tremendous douche isn't a crime, it just makes you unpleasant.

Yeager, I don't defend Megaupload for that, the whole point of contention about this debate is the government being tremendous asshats.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Vanguard on January 23, 2012, 12:52:27 PM
This is how the record industry works (if you want, I will dig up my essay for the sources):

If you're signed to a major label, this is what your financial situation looks like. The average advance is $125,000. This is to cover the expenses of recording and touring. Promoting a single nationally costs $1,000,000 on average. This is all money you have to pay back. Until the record company recoups these expenses, you do not make any money from your albums, your concerts, or your merchandise. Virtually all contracts for a new act require that you sign your stage name and any music you will record over to the record company.

I don't have the sources on hand (they're in an essay I wrote on my laptop), but the break even point for this is 250,000 copies. Some estimates put this number as high as 500,000 copies. 95% of artists fail to achieve this level of sales, and will sell anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 copies of their album. The most common scenario is that the record company releases them from their contract, but retain the rights to their music. This means you are not allowed to perform the songs you wrote under the name everybody recognizes. As a bonus, you owe the record company whatever you fell short of paying back, $10,000 on average.

So let's talk about the 5% who do make it. Think people like Madonna, Eminem, or Michale Jackson. How much do you think they get from a single CD sale? If you guessed .15 on average, you would be correct. Remember back when a CD was the most common way to listen to music? Remember how much we payed for them? $18 fucking dollars. Now, most people who buy music are doing so with an online site for .99 a track (keep in mind though, 85% of all downloads are illegal). The artists are making fractions of a penny from these sites. What's worse, because music is still promoted the same way it has been since the 1920s (see: a single on the radio), people are now are forgoing the album experience for the songs they recognize, netting the artist even less money.

The independent music industry fares much better. There are no advances here, typically. Both the artist and the company assume the risk. They split the costs of recording (much cheaper, anywhere from five to ten thousand), but the artist needs to support their own tour. Advertising is usually done by word of mouth, and records are sold at barely above cost. College radio plays (or played) a pretty big role in getting them exposure. That's the trick here, really. Without any sort of apparatus to broadcast your name nationally, getting your name out there is the hard part.

However, it happens. A band like Sebadoh was able to sell 10,000 copies of one of their albums in the early 90s without the advertising power of Sony or whomever. And they made more money than people who sold 200,000 copies of their album.

With the internet, it happens far more easily. There are two important technological developments in the last ten years. First, the cost of recording has come down significantly. I can make a demo on my iPad with Garage band ($5 app) for example. The second is social media. People are recording and listening to music at a rate that has never been possible. The internet is basically functioning the way word of mouth used to, except it's gone national.

Regardless of the size of the label you're signed to, the majority of the money you will make comes from touring. How do you get people to show up for your shows? Getting your music out there. The primary difference between the two is that being signed to a major label has an incredible amount of overhead, which is why album sales matter more here. However, for independent acts, which comprise the majority or artists out there, their overhead is low enough that piracy does not lose them all that much money, which is why they're usually happy to give it away for free if that translates into a bigger audience.

In short, piracy, at least in regards to the music industry, is an invented problem. The big players are upset because their predatory business practices are becoming less and less profitable as fewer musicians need to rely on them to provide a support structure. The best thing that could possibly happen is for Sony and the other big three record companies to implode so the model of the independent artists can become the dominant paradigm.

Note: if you need clarification on something, just ask. This is long and I typed it in a hurry.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 23, 2012, 12:54:22 PM
Yeager, I don't defend Megaupload for that, the whole point of contention about this debate is the government being tremendous asshats.

Oh yeah - totally didn't think you did. Sorry if it came off that way. I think we're in total agreement on the Fed's execution here.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 23, 2012, 12:59:32 PM
This is how the record industry works (if you want, I will dig up my essay for the sources):

If you're signed to a major label, this is what your financial situation looks like. The average advance is $125,000. This is to cover the expenses of recording and touring. Promoting a single nationally costs $1,000,000 on average. This is all money you have to pay back. Until the record company recoups these expenses, you do not make any money from your albums, your concerts, or your merchandise. Virtually all contracts for a new act require that you sign your stage name and any music you will record over to the record company.

I don't have the sources on hand (they're in an essay I wrote on my laptop), but the break even point for this is 250,000 copies. Some estimates put this number as high as 500,000 copies. 95% of artists fail to achieve this level of sales, and will sell anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 copies of their album. The most common scenario is that the record company releases them from their contract, but retain the rights to their music. This means you are not allowed to perform the songs you wrote under the name everybody recognizes. As a bonus, you owe the record company whatever you fell short of paying back, $10,000 on average.

So let's talk about the 5% who do make it. Think people like Madonna, Eminem, or Michale Jackson. How much do you think they get from a single CD sale? If you guessed .15 on average, you would be correct. Remember back when a CD was the most common way to listen to music? Remember how much we payed for them? $18 fucking dollars. Now, most people who buy music are doing so with an online site for .99 a track (keep in mind though, 85% of all downloads are illegal). The artists are making fractions of a penny from these sites. What's worse, because music is still promoted the same way it has been since the 1920s (see: a single on the radio), people are now are forgoing the album experience for the songs they recognize, netting the artist even less money.

The independent music industry fares much better. There are no advances here, typically. Both the artist and the company assume the risk. They split the costs of recording (much cheaper, anywhere from five to ten thousand), but the artist needs to support their own tour. Advertising is usually done by word of mouth, and records are sold at barely above cost. College radio plays (or played) a pretty big role in getting them exposure. That's the trick here, really. Without any sort of apparatus to broadcast your name nationally, getting your name out there is the hard part.

However, it happens. A band like Sebadoh was able to sell 10,000 copies of one of their albums in the early 90s without the advertising power of Sony or whomever. And they made more money than people who sold 200,000 copies of their album.

With the internet, it happens far more easily. There are two important technological developments in the last ten years. First, the cost of recording has come down significantly. I can make a demo on my iPad with Garage band ($5 app) for example. The second is social media. People are recording and listening to music at a rate that has never been possible. The internet is basically functioning the way word of mouth used to, except it's gone national.

Regardless of the size of the label you're signed to, the majority of the money you will make comes from touring. How do you get people to show up for your shows? Getting your music out there. The primary difference between the two is that being signed to a major label has an incredible amount of overhead, which is why album sales matter more here. However, for independent acts, which comprise the majority or artists out there, their overhead is low enough that piracy does not lose them all that much money, which is why they're usually happy to give it away for free if that translates into a bigger audience.

In short, piracy, at least in regards to the music industry, is an invented problem. The big players are upset because their predatory business practices are becoming less and less profitable as fewer musicians need to rely on them to provide a support structure. The best thing that could possibly happen is for Sony and the other big three record companies to implode so the model of the independent artists can become the dominant paradigm.

Note: if you need clarification on something, just ask. This is long and I typed it in a hurry.

Really useful stuff - thanks for posting. And yeah, it's clearly a bleak situation for most artists with a major labor.

And again, I don't think we're in disagreement on the "tough shit" argument for labels losing money. However I still think that if you want to give something away for free that has to be your choice. Otherwise it is stealing.

That's a real short reply to a post that deserves better, but frankly I agree with the rest of it. I think that internet distribution or distributing music for free is not only a viable strategy, but probably one that will eventually be (if it already isn't) more profitable. But I still maintain that the choice to give something away is the right of property holder. If independent acts want to give their stuff away for free and are making good money that way as you claim here, then that is awesome. But that's still THEIR decision to do that.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Demon_Princess_Kay on January 23, 2012, 01:05:57 PM
This is relevant
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/5268-Piracy-Episode-One-Copyright
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Vanguard on January 23, 2012, 01:24:36 PM
That video sums things up nicely, Kay.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Ragnarok-Sabin on January 23, 2012, 02:59:40 PM
An interesting way to look at piracy that hasn't been touched on in this thread is the stance Gabe Newell (co-founder of Valve) takes towards it. That is, piracy is not a monetary issue, but a convenience issue. It's not universally true, of course, but a lot of people do not pirate music/movies/games/television shows because they can't afford them. Rather, they pirate them for the ease-of-access that pirated media gives.

Take a look at Steam. Where many publishers have controversial DRM mixed into their software that makes their games more difficult to play (can only play from the registered computer, can only play while online, etc), games bought on Steam fly in the face of this: so long as you log into your account, you can download and play any game in your library from any computer. You can also set up your account to play your games offline if they're already installed. So you buy your game in a digital copy, generally slightly cheaper than in-store retail prices. It's delivered immediately, over the internet, with no hassle, and without arbitrary restrictions placed on the use of the product you just paid for. And Steam is hugely successful, despite digital copies of games being being, generally, easier to pirate.

It's not just games, either. Louis C.K. recently released a new stand-up special over the internet, with no physical copy. You pay 5 dollars and receive two streams and 4 downloadable copies, instantly. All you need to do is pay through PayPal or Amazon--and you don't even need a PayPal account. The digital copy is a straight video file with no protection that anyone could turn around and post on the internet or in torrent files, requiring no cracks of any kind.

He made a million dollars in twelve days. All of that money went directly to him, where he used it to pay his employees, donated to charity, recouped costs, and paid his bills. Not a red cent went to any DVD publishers. Sure, some people probably downloaded it illegally because they're cheap, but I know that's the first time I've ever paid for a comedy special rather than watch it on YouTube or something. It was cheap to buy and ridiculously easy to get a hold of, and I think the sales show that people are willing to pay the money so long as they're not being jerked around. But jerk them around, and they will take the easier route, which is pirating.

Television is the same. I don't have a cable or satellite subscription at my apartment at all, since I have no desire to be (somewhat) bound by the scheduling, nor do I appreciate 3 minutes of adds for every 6 minutes of content. I also have no interest in paying for 5 other specialty channels if I want to watch, say HBO. So, until recently, I made liberal use of MegaVideo for my television fix.

But I also have a Netflix account, and always check to see if it's up there before I turn to streaming elsewhere. If I really enjoy the show, I will buy the DVDs--as I did for Community, despite having watched every available episode at the time. If networks would stop their quibbling and embrace services like Netflix (preferably only one, please and thank you) they would all be getting some of my money. Instead, they make it damn near impossible to watch at my convenience or without price-gouging me, and so I resort to methods that don't play that bullshit.

I realize this is getting pretty anecdotal, but I can't help but point out that as an anime fan, I have downloaded a lot of shows in my day. But I also have a Crunchyroll subscription, and just recently added a Funimation subscription as well. These days I only turn to fansubbers when I can't get it legally in a way that supports content creators in some way.

I don't have evidence to back it up, but I feel like the general consensus, even among (most) pirates, is this: If you offer a quality product for a reasonable price, don't jerk your customers around, and the creators are actually going to see our money rather than shady middlemen, people will buy things. Instead we get DRM, ads in things we're already paying for (DVDs, for example), a huge pain in the ass when we want to access content we've purchased, and the creators see next to nothing.

I sympathize with, though don't agree with, the idea that piracy is stealing. However, I think that the only thing that is allowing piracy to be a problem at all are the very people decrying it. Bring business models into this century, and I think a lot of the problem might work itself out.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Vanguard on January 23, 2012, 03:20:04 PM
I think you're doing it right. The people at the tops of these industries are dinosaurs who need to make access to their content easier. Otherwise, it's just going to get stolen. I have a Hulu+ account and a Netflix account. If I can't find what I'm looking for, I'm going the free way.

Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 23, 2012, 03:24:02 PM
I think you're doing it right. The people at the tops of these industries are dinosaurs who need to make access to their content easier. Otherwise, it's just going to get stolen. I have a Hulu+ account and a Netflix account. If I can't find what I'm looking for, I'm going the free way.



I don't agree - even if you believe it should be available free, if it actually isn't, you're stealing it. Folks have made some legitimate and sound philosophical stances here on WHY things should work differently in these industries, but until they do the free way is stealing. Again, we may eventually find out with more evidence and research that in fact nobody is actually getting hurt, but let's call it what it is.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Annubis on January 23, 2012, 03:59:47 PM
I think you're doing it right. The people at the tops of these industries are dinosaurs who need to make access to their content easier. Otherwise, it's just going to get stolen. I have a Hulu+ account and a Netflix account. If I can't find what I'm looking for, I'm going the free way.
but let's call it what it is.

Not to be anal, but if you want to call it what it is, the term is pirating. The term has a rather different meaning than stealing.
Stealing implies robbing something leaving none to who had it, while pirating means creating a perfect duplicate.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Vanguard on January 23, 2012, 04:02:48 PM
Yes, it's stealing. If the people involved in these industries don't have the business smarts to see there is a massive audience online, they are being stupid. If they think that not putting their content online will curb piracy, they're being naive.

I'm not saying that makes it not stealing, but I don't feel particularly bad about pirating content that is otherwise unavailable to me.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 23, 2012, 04:10:22 PM
Not to be anal, but if you want to call it what it is, the term is pirating. The term has a rather different meaning than stealing.
Stealing implies robbing something leaving none to who had it, while pirating means creating a perfect duplicate.

If we're going to argue connotation, we're probably going to go in circles, but I see the distinction you're making.

If we're going with dictionary definition, software/music/tv/whatever piracy is stealing. But again I see your point and it is a fair one.

If nothing else, my biggest point in all this continues to be that if you're going to do this, you have to be honest about it and admit you are taking something that is being made available at a cost for nothing. It may be a cost you are not willing to pay or that you disagree with due to a number of philosophical or business issues, but you're still taking something available for a price without paying that price. That is what I mean by stealing.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Vanguard on January 23, 2012, 04:23:44 PM
What about OOP things, or stuff the company has not put on the internet?

I don't have a TV. I do all of my electronic media consumption on the internet. If your shit isn't readily available directly, I'm going to steal it and I'm not going to feel bad. Why? Because you don't allow me the opportunity to get it legitimately through a widely accepted medium. Case in point: Game of Thrones. I tried to buy it through HBO's site, but, because my internet provider doesn't offer HBO, they wouldn't.

I still watched it. I may even buy the DVD once it goes down in price.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Ragnarok-Sabin on January 23, 2012, 04:30:00 PM
Not to be anal, but if you want to call it what it is, the term is pirating. The term has a rather different meaning than stealing.
Stealing implies robbing something leaving none to who had it, while pirating means creating a perfect duplicate.

If we're going to argue connotation, we're probably going to go in circles, but I see the distinction you're making.

If we're going with dictionary definition, software/music/tv/whatever piracy is stealing. But again I see your point and it is a fair one.

If nothing else, my biggest point in all this continues to be that if you're going to do this, you have to be honest about it and admit you are taking something that is being made available at a cost for nothing. It may be a cost you are not willing to pay or that you disagree with due to a number of philosophical or business issues, but you're still taking something available for a price without paying that price. That is what I mean by stealing.

Yes. In some cases, I do take for free products for which money is being asked. By some definitions--yours in particular--that is stealing. By others, it is not; the dictionary definition of theft is this:
Quote from: Dictionary.com
1. the act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny.
2. an instance of this.

Carrying away implies physically taking something from someone, leaving them nothing. As Annubis pointed out, this is not what pirating is. But in the end, this is a pointless semantic discussion. Very few people are arguing that piracy is perfectly pure, morally. 

My base point, I guess, is that the price of things is not meant to be set by the creator; the price of something is set by the consumer. By this I mean that if a creator asks too much, people don't buy their product. For me, and many others, too much money is being asked for shoddy services; the main goal of piracy for such people is not the cheap aquisition of a property. Rather, we don't want to support archaic/draconian business practices. I do see where you're coming from, in that these people should probably simply boycott the product rather than take it for free, but hell, no one is perfect, and that's inconvenient. I don't want to miss out on an awesome show like Game of Thrones because HBO is too stubborn to put it on Netflix (or something to that effect).

In the meantime, all the big media conglomerates need to do to fix the problem is shut up, swallow their pride, and change with the times. Instead they're doing everything they can to undermine their customers, and that is absolute bullshit.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Kevadu on January 23, 2012, 05:26:41 PM
Wow, there are a lot of things I want to comment about on this thread...

Point 1:  The music industry has traditionally followed a broken and abusive model based on a near-monopoly of distribution channels.  They massively overcharge, their only real expense is marketing (how much does it actually cost to write a song), and yeah artists get screwed.  They don't really make anything from albums and they're mostly just for promotion anyway.  The money they make comes from giving concerts.

But this has absolutely nothing to do with movies/software/anything else.  Stop talking like it does.  Seriously.  At the very least the fact that there really isn't anything equivalent to 'touring' in any of these other examples should be obvious.  The product is what it is, and 100% of the money comes from selling that product.  Also, making a game or a movie requires a massive investment compared to writing a song.  Triple-A games are costing in the tens of millions to make these days.  Somebody has to fund that.  Even if you don't like the publishers, they are serving a valuable and important role here.  And they also take on real risk, since many games flop and don't recoup their investments.

So basically, shut up about the music industry unless you are specifically talking about pirating music and nothing else.


Point 2:  Piracy does real damage to fledgeling industries.  It's easy to look at the people who are already successful and think something like, "it's OK to pirate their stuff, they're rich".  I'm not going to say I agree with that attitude, but it's something a lot of people have.  However pirates are indiscriminate, and the easiest places to see piracies effect is in areas that have been less successful.  We're gamers here, so look what piracy did to the PSP market in the US.  PSP hardware actually sold quite well early on, but nobody was buying the games (so what do you think they were doing with that hardware?).  As a result game publishers stopped releasing games for it.

I would also like to talk extensively about what rampant disrespect for copyright has done to the commercial manga industry in the US, but I don't have a lot of time at the moment and that's something I could go on and on about.  Basically it's completely screwed it over (and a lot of people are profitting off of it illegally and not giving a dime back to the creators...).


Point 3:  Stop your entitlement-driven whining.  The fact that a company didn't make their product super-convenient to buy doesn't mean you're allowed to steal it.  None of these entertainment products are in any way essential to your life.  You can do without them.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Vanguard on January 23, 2012, 05:50:17 PM
Actually, the predatory business practices found in the record industry are echoed in book publishing and movie production. While I can't rattle off numbers the same way, there are similar abuses found in those sectors. The music industry discussion is important because most people don't know what they're talking about and use arguments so thin they wouldn't cover a bumper sticker. Anyone who had real insider knowledge would be able to tell you the same.

I never said that a company not making a product convenient for me to buy entitles me to steal it. I just said I would. There is a difference. Saying I can do without them would still mean I'm not giving them money.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Ragnarok-Sabin on January 23, 2012, 06:21:24 PM
Agreed. I'm not trying to argue that piracy is some how the 'right' choice. I'm just saying where, personally, I see a large part of it stemming from. I honestly believe that if companies offered their products in ways that were easy to use, convenient (see: Steam), and were reasonably priced, we would see huge drops in just how much piracy actually occurs. Not to say it would solve the problem entirely, of course not, but you would probably see more Average Joe's watching it on Netflix rather than downloading it illegally, simply for the convenience. As it is now, it's much more convenient to stream or download a movie illegally than rent it, and very few people are willing to buy a DVD for a movie they may only watch one time, ever.

Looking at your PSP example, I wonder how differently things would have panned out if support had been focused on the PSN rather than on UMD right from the start. It's quite possible that things would have ended up the same, but my gut feeling tells me there may have been more success for the PSP.

One of the big things I want to impress is that it's not as though illegal downloads are my first stop for everything. I've never downloaded a game illegally (aside from, debate-ably, some ROMs for games which I already owned). I maintain a Crunchyroll, Netflix, and Funimation account monthly, even when I'm not getting much use out of them, in an attempt to support industries that I love. I try to find other ways to affordably access what I'm looking for. If that doesn't get me what I want, then yes, I will pirate it. I am not interested in overpaying for something when I can get it free. I admit, the moral choice would be to boycott rather than pirate, but I am not a perfect person, and I don't want to wait to watch a show I like because Studio X wont pull their collective head out of their ass. Am I in the wrong? Very probably. Are they also in the wrong? Hell yes they are.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Hidoshi on January 23, 2012, 08:11:49 PM
The O'Dwyer case is an awful example. When you comply with a cease and desist and then post up a new website that says "fuck the police" on it, you're flouting the law, and should expect repercussions. O'Dwyer's been put up as some kind of poster child for the free speech cause by guys like Jimmy Wales, but it's stupid. O'Dwyer was in the wrong. Is the force being used excessive? A bit, sure, but he's still a bad example. Proponents need to use better examples if they intend to actually fight an abuse of the law.
I didn't realize making websites insulting people was basis for repercussion. "The law" isn't the playground bully, who can bash people's heads in for insulting them. When should I expect people on my doorstep for arguing for corporate separation from government? 5 years? 10? I may well be that the guy is a tremendous douche, but being a tremendous douche isn't a crime, it just makes you unpleasant.

Yeager, I don't defend Megaupload for that, the whole point of contention about this debate is the government being tremendous asshats.

Flouting the law in addition to disobedience is pretty compounding, dude. What I'm saying is that O'Dwyer doesn't have a leg to stand on, and shouldn't be given any sympathy, especially because he was not compliant with the law, and in addition was even insulting towards it.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Ashton on January 23, 2012, 08:33:04 PM
Sorry, I can't support the U.S. government overreaching in any capacity, especially if the reasoning for this is shit fueled by corporate interests rather than common good. He should be tried in the UK, where he's from, and even then copyright infringement is really more of a civil problem than a criminal one. If he was a known terrorist or criminal responsible for crimes against the U.S.? Fine. But no, he's a kid who hosted a website. Being a dick is not against the law; we have rappers that sing "fuck the police" nowadays. It's dumb, but they're not criminals.

There's never a 'this side is right, this side is wrong' deal when it comes to stuff like this, but I normally fall into the party that disapproves of the way governments handle this because they're honestly being a bunch of dicks about it. The punishment should fit the crime, but what they are doing now is the equivalent of taking a thief to the public square and chopping off his hands, screaming "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO THIEVES," as a warning to others.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Annubis on January 23, 2012, 09:32:39 PM
the equivalent of taking a thief to the public square and chopping off his hands, screaming "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO THIEVES," as a warning to others.

4shared: Mass deletion
FileJungle: Mass deletion, Testing USA IP blocking
FileServe: Mass deletion
FileSonic: Closed file-sharing completely
MediaFire: Mass deletion of files & accounts
UploadStation: Mass deletion, Testing USA IP blocking, losed affiliate program, Closed file-sharing completely (23 Jan)
UploadBox: Closed
Uploaded: Banned USA IP addresses
x7.to: Closed

Seems to be working...
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: ZeronHitaro on January 24, 2012, 12:27:55 AM
And thus the age of isolationism and cross-cultural ignorance returns.

That's pretty much what this is heralding in. Between the copyright nonsense on Youtube and Filesharing services too afraid to host anything it's going to be virtually impossible to experience shows and material from other countries without completely learning the language and moving there. As such this pretty much cuts off your average individual from experiencing any content outside of what your nation allows to pass after being 'localized'.

It's a shame; I really hoped these people would 'nut up', as the saying goes, and play to the internet's greatest strength; for every site you kill 5 more clones will pop right back up. But to see so many rolling over and playing dead at once...pathetic.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Darklight on January 24, 2012, 12:57:59 AM
So it will be back soon enough, just like all the other spawns from this scare tactic. Scan and close twitter which is a huge source for piracy, Oh I forgot the FBI uses this as a data base along with creepbook. Oh there has to be a better way to rule the world again?? in a century or 2
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Demon_Princess_Kay on January 24, 2012, 11:53:13 AM
Anyone hear about this? https://plus.google.com/u/0/111314089359991626869/posts/HQJxDRiwAWq and here's the link it has in it. http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2011/111221airvinyl
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Vanguard on January 24, 2012, 12:44:35 PM
I did not. Given the information I posted earlier, this is hardly surprising.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on January 24, 2012, 04:59:46 PM
People have sent me some really interesting links on the whole debate, I thought I'd share a couple with you guys.

Here is one from a small time horror publisher whose work got pirated. He typically makes 35k a year as a small time publisher: http://www.briankeene.com/?p=10258 (http://www.briankeene.com/?p=10258)

Here is also a very short article with lots of good links having to do with Jonathan Coulton's stance on the issue - you can firmly put him on the side of the Neil Gaiman camp: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2012/01/just_because_jonathan_coultons.php (http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2012/01/just_because_jonathan_coultons.php)

What I've heard here really speaks to the fact that I think the biggest thing needed is independent research on the true effects of piracy on these industries. All we seem to be able to debate are various anecdotes, and that's no way to have a rational discussion.

I also wanted to say this whole thread really made me appreciate how rational the RPGFan community CAN be. This is a hot button issue that usually leads to a lot of name calling, but I think for the most part people handled it with a real interest in sharing ideas and opinions. So thanks. :-)
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Akanbe- on January 24, 2012, 05:22:35 PM
I'm pretty sure the studies are out there.  I've seen studies show up on Ars from time to time, but I don't who published them.

And there goes stuff like unlicensed Japanese shows.  I can't watch the show nor can I support it because the only releases are DVDs that are in Japanese with no subtitles.  Sucks.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Mickeymac92 on January 24, 2012, 06:46:47 PM
As much as it sucks, it's still illegal and you can't really justify it.

Anyways, to completely contradict myself, I must say, I'm more beefed about the fact that they took Megavideo down, too. I used to use that for all my anime needs, since it had the best video quality and a great interface, and I absolutely refuse to use other mirrors, so now I gotta download...but they took down Megaupload, so now I'll have to use *shudders* torrents...

Jesus Christ, this was far more effective at at least getting me to go the legal route than SOPA ever would've been.=P
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Eusis on January 24, 2012, 08:54:45 PM
That point was countered with the fact they've been under investigation for MONTHS.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Hidoshi on January 24, 2012, 10:31:50 PM
Months? Two YEARS dude.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Ashton on January 24, 2012, 11:00:30 PM
I'm still not completely convinced this is coincidental, they were under investigation before, and suddenly they're raided when they want to coe out with Megabox? They drop the lawsuit against Universal while they're being held? Very fishy.

I wouldn't be surprise if the raid was instigated and sped up by corporations at this point.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Mickeymac92 on January 25, 2012, 12:21:15 AM
Just a note, but it seems that other sites have stepped up their game now that Megaupload was taken down. I've been to 10 different sites, and all of them have begun heavily removing their illegal content, and at least 4 of them have disabled filesharing. This seems to have had a bigger impact than I originally thought.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Vanguard on January 25, 2012, 10:22:02 AM
I'm still not completely convinced this is coincidental, they were under investigation before, and suddenly they're raided when they want to coe out with Megabox? They drop the lawsuit against Universal while they're being held? Very fishy.

I wouldn't be surprise if the raid was instigated and sped up by corporations at this point.

You'd have to be naive to think otherwise. There are too many factors in this situation to write it off as a coincidence. With SOPA failing to gain support, they were a little butt hurt. When they saw plans for MegaBox, it made sense to tie them up in the courts.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Hidoshi on January 25, 2012, 11:48:51 AM
Sorry, I can't support the U.S. government overreaching in any capacity, especially if the reasoning for this is shit fueled by corporate interests rather than common good. He should be tried in the UK, where he's from, and even then copyright infringement is really more of a civil problem than a criminal one. If he was a known terrorist or criminal responsible for crimes against the U.S.? Fine. But no, he's a kid who hosted a website. Being a dick is not against the law; we have rappers that sing "fuck the police" nowadays. It's dumb, but they're not criminals.

There's never a 'this side is right, this side is wrong' deal when it comes to stuff like this, but I normally fall into the party that disapproves of the way governments handle this because they're honestly being a bunch of dicks about it. The punishment should fit the crime, but what they are doing now is the equivalent of taking a thief to the public square and chopping off his hands, screaming "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO THIEVES," as a warning to others.

It depends on which party has suffered damages due to O'Dwyer's actions. If it were a case of property relating to the servers, trying him in the UK wouldn't be an issue. But that's not the grievance here. The grievance is damage through infringement, and chances are most of the damages are against American properties. It's well within reason to request extradition.

Copyright infringement of this kind (re: Enabling Theft) is not, and never has been a civil procedure in any court of the Commonwealth or the United States. Were it merely that he was practicing plagiarism, he might be tried in civil proceedings because plagiarism does not always equate actual theft of goods, only of concepts. But what O'Dwyer was doing was enabling theft, compounded by copyright infringement. Therefore it's a criminal trial. Otherwise you'd have to equally grant all cases of assisted theft a civil procedure instead of a criminal one, and the law does not work that way.

They really aren't being dickish about this at all. There's also no talk of punishment yet. O'Dwyer can even appeal extradition right now. Keep in mind, the UK's hand was not force in this matter. There does exist an extradition pact between the US and UK, but an independent ruling still has to be made, and by a judge of the country from whom an individual is being extradited.

Why isn't O'Dwyer being tried in the UK? Because they don't have any laws regarding what he did. The UK is massively behind in terms of internet legislation and has no precedent to try O'Dwyer on. But the United States, Canada, or Australia do, and since damages were most severe to US properties, that's where he goes.

This isn't an abuse of authority dude, it's pretty much due process.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Chronix112 on January 27, 2012, 07:04:22 AM
What i really did not like about sites like megaupload is that massive blogging sites' accounts , actually get paid based on the amounts of hits their download gets. Getting paid for hosting/stealing someone eles's work is just not right. I am not exactly happy about the way it was done, but I pleased with the result.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Annubis on February 09, 2012, 01:37:53 PM
Interesting interviews on what went on when the police assaulted Kim's mansion. Both sides of the story.

http://www.3news.co.nz/Campbell-Live-enters-Kim-Dotcoms-Coatesville-mansion/tabid/367/articleID/242116/Default.aspx
http://www.3news.co.nz/Police-defend-actions-during-Dotcom-raid/tabid/367/articleID/242115/Default.aspx

Going overboard much?
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on February 09, 2012, 01:59:32 PM
Funny timing this - was sent a really excellent NY Times op ed piece that also contains a link to a University of Texas study on piracy effects. This isn't the be all, end all of such research but the evidence is certainly not pretty for the pro-piracy side.

The NYT piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/opinion/sunday/perpetual-war-digital-pirates-and-creators.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/opinion/sunday/perpetual-war-digital-pirates-and-creators.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss)

The research paper: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1932518&download=yes (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1932518&download=yes)

The author of the paper is a professor of economics at the University of Texas and has done a number of research papers on this topic over the years. Again, not the be all end all, but the case is pretty compelling.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Vanguard on February 09, 2012, 05:51:02 PM
The NYT article is pretty dishonest, actually. The drop in sales in the last ten years may look precipitous, but it's ignoring the fact that record companies have witnessed ever-decreasing sales for the last forty years.

I'm not denying that seeing a 50% loss of sales in ten years isn't huge, but look at the early years. We see biggest leaps percentage-wise during the years that the record industry refused to acknowledge that digital distribution was the way of the future. That was a lost opportunity. We see some slight declines around 2003-2004, but this when the RIAA was suing people.

This is the problem I have with arguments that set the metrics to begin with the advent of Napster. The trends we're seeing today began prior to digital distribution. The internet merely accelerated the slow bleeding-out the record companies had been suffering post the heydays of the 1960s. Instead of using this as an opportunity to restructure themselves (well, they have, they've consolidated and gotten bigger, further exacerbating the structural problems), they bandy this data around and talk about how it's hurting artists when, in 95% of cases, it is not affecting them in the slightest.

The best thing that could happen is the complete collapse of the big four record companies. It would open the door for a lot of musicians to cut the middleman out and get their music directly into the hands of digital distributors, like iTunes (who, by the way, pay more money to record companies than to either artists or themselves combined). 
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: dyeager on February 09, 2012, 06:33:46 PM
I think "dishonest" is the wrong word. Precisely because there are so many mitigating factors, regression analysis seems to me to be the only legit way to isolate the variables here.

Regardless I think it becomes more and more difficult to hold the viewpoint that "piracy doesn't affect sales". I doubt very strongly it is the ONLY reason sales are down, but I am finding it increasingly difficult to believe it plays NO factor.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Ashton on February 09, 2012, 09:26:36 PM
I have no doubts it plays some factor, but at the same time i am hard pressed to believe it plays AS BIG a factor as those numbers indicate. For one thing, that article makes a causative assumption out of something that's correlational at best, which is a big no-no if you want to makes statements like that author did. I could just as easily state that sales are dropping because of the heavy handed actions of the recording companies making people not want to support them as much, or that the sales are dropping because of a volatile economy causing consumers to be pickier in what they purchase. There are surely nuggets of truth to be found in such statements, but to attribute a causative factor to them is irresponsible and disingenuous at best.

I'm never for the pro piracy side but neither am I completely anti piracy either, because both sides rely on severe straw men arguments so much that I'm shocked none of them vomit hay on a daily basis. However, the truth is while the worst thing pro piracy advocates can be accused of being are thieves, the anti piracy side can be accused of being tyrants and oppressors. Which is the lesser evil here?
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Vanguard on February 09, 2012, 10:20:19 PM
One thing we could do, and maybe I will, is calculate the best year of the record industry sales-wise to the worst year piracy-wise. Without doing the math, I can guarantee that pirated copies of music have outpaced sales exponentially.

This would do a few things. First, it would blow a hole in the fallacy, "every illegal download is a lost sale." It would also give us an idea of how many people are actually willing to pay for music. That's really the rub, I think, people have such a glut of options in terms of what to spend their money on that they prioritize.  Factor in the economy, and the ease of pirating a song compared to other media, and you have a perfect storm for why it's so ubiquitous.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: konirash on February 13, 2012, 02:04:58 AM
Really angry to SOPA, i have so many uploads on that site. and it all went to dust!
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Annubis on September 26, 2012, 02:22:28 PM
/me casts Scroll of Resurrection on Megaupload

http://torrentfreak.com/megaupload-readies-for-comeback-code-90-done-120923/
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Mickeymac92 on October 05, 2012, 08:05:05 PM
/me casts Scroll of Resurrection on Megaupload

http://torrentfreak.com/megaupload-readies-for-comeback-code-90-done-120923/

Is there really any point in coming back? I mean, other people have already taken their place as kings of the digital castle. And most of all, they're sharing the throne instead of letting one get too big for their britches and nearly letting the entire operation fall through the floor when the cops finally decide to do something. And at this point, he should be trying to be more discreet, instead of "bigger and better" (and definitely not announcing it at all). Unless he's bringing back all the files with it (there are a ton of files lost to the internet forever thanks to everyone using Megaupload before), I can't honestly say I care anymore.
Title: Re: Megaupload seized / shut down
Post by: Annubis on October 05, 2012, 09:36:30 PM
Is there really any point in coming back? I mean, other people have already taken their place as kings of the digital castle.

Actually, no.
Everyone is too stupid and nobody took the throne.
MU conquered it with aggressively low pricing and 0 bullshit.
Everyone else thinks that high prices and bullshit is the way to go.

Watch them come back and take it all.