This is the second analysis article written by our security expert. You can view our Ed-in-Chief’s 2009: The Year When Internet Freedom Ends comment here.
As we all sit and shake our heads over the Pirate Bay Verdict we have to wonder, when did we allow corporations to dictate law?
The Pirate Bay was found guilty of “hosting” copy written files even though these files never touched or resided on their servers. The founding members were sentenced to jail for one year and ordered to pay $5,290,000 US dollars worth of fines for the titles again without ever having any files physically on their servers. So since they could not get them for hosting the files they got them for "providing a website with sophisticated search functions, simple download and storage capabilities, and a tracker linked to the website [that helped users commit copyright violations]." Sounds a lot like Google and Yahoo to me…
It makes me wonder, when the MPAA and RIAA are going to go after Google, Yahoo and other search engines? As I can run a search in Google and find movies, applications, etc all through Google. Does that mean they are guilty of copyright infringement? After all a simple search for “x-men origins wolverine torrent” yields me with more than 10 pages of results, all of which are links to torrent or .iso files.
The issue here is that Google has billions of dollars behind them to back them up the guys from The Pirate Bay do not. Google is a huge company with money and resources in many other companies. MPAA and RIAA would not want to offend Google. But they will go after four people running a search engine over in Sweden. Of course that is after they pressured the Swedish Government to change the laws to make what The Pirate Bay was doing a crime. On April 1st the Swedish Government changed the laws to conform with the IPRED [Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive] this change not only made it easier for copyright holders [and their conglomerates] to gain access to internet data but it also criminalized the act and imposed harsher fines.
Now here is the rub, the case against The Pirate Bay goes back to long before this law took effect. The alleged infringement was not even a crime when at the time it took place. So we see a law being changed by corporations to make the act a crime and set a precedent. This is a very dangerous pattern; it means that they can change laws to make events illegal to suit the desired outcome. Think about how ludicrous it would be to have a police man knock on your door and give you a ticket because he had clocked you going 35 Miles Per Hour a couple of months ago, which was the speed limit at the time but now they have changed it to 25 Miles Per Hour. It is simply not done like that, you do not make laws to fit what you want, in this case the motion picture industry wanted a guilty verdict and the Swedish Government made it possible with the new law.
We as a global community have the right to complain about our elected officials. In the US we complain about everything from The President of the US to the President of our home owner’s association. This is what we are supposed to do. We MUST be vocal about the things that our elected government does wrong. But for years our anger has been misplaced; we have attacked the figurehead the extension of who is really pulling the strings. The people that manage to get elected are never serving their own or their constituents’ interests. They are serving the interest of the lobbyist, and the companies that helped to pay for their campaigns.
To put it simply; when a large corporation or group of corporations donate money [often through individual executives] they expect something in return. They will come and ask for it, mark my word.
Out most current President owes his election for companies like Google, the big motion picture companies, and the MPAA and RIAA . It is no coincidence that President Obama has posted 4 former RIAA lawyers to the top positions in the DOJ [Department of Justice], nor is it accidental that his Vice President is Joe Biden. Biden has long been for using the US DOJ to go after P2P file sharers criminally for the MPAA and RIAA.
So we see that corporate sponsorship and donations elected a Copyright Holder friendly government and we will watch as our Internet Freedom and Net Neutrality are cast aside – all in the name of justice and child protection, but in reality in the name of profit.
Although this is outside the scope of this article, notice that JP Morgan Chase donated heavily, and they just received a ton of money from the latest bailout check.
Somewhere in the mix our governments have forgotten that laws and the government are meant to protect the people and serve the people’s interests, not to enrich corporations.