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Submission + - US Copyright Group: Lawsuits, DDOS, Bomb Threats (arstechnica.com)

Andorin writes: The US law firm of Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver, otherwise known as the US Copyright Group, filed suit at the end of August against another 2,177 individuals for allegedly downloading and sharing the slasher film Cornered!. (In total the USCG has now filed suit against over 16,200 individuals.) In retaliation, Operation Payback, the Anonymous-led project responsible for DDOSing websites of the RIAA and MPAA, targeted the US Copyright Group's website with a DDOS, temporarily bringing it down for a few hours. Additionally, the local police department evacuated the office of Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver after a bomb threat was emailed to the firm. The building was searched but no bomb was found.

Comment Re:No wonder SaaS seems so appealing (Score 2, Interesting) 510

Your mentality is a good example of what's wrong with copyright today. You appear to believe that because "it takes time and effort to write code," it follows that a developer should be paid for every single copy of his code that is produced by others, completely regardless of the fact that in the digital environment, copies are non-scarce, effectively making them worthless. There is nothing, except for tradition (which has been totally invalidated by modern technology), to connect the ideas that "software takes effort to make" and "software authors must be paid for every copy." Why not pay them for the actual creation of the software in the first place, rather than after the fact?

I'm also interested in how a lot of people are "morally corrupt" because they disagree with your old-fashioned view of copyright. Care to elaborate on that?

Comment Re:No wonder SaaS seems so appealing (Score 2, Insightful) 510

> GPL... What is it? It is law based on copyright! So if you are violating via piracy you are violating the GPL.
One, the GPL is not a law. It's a software license.

Two, your argument doesn't make sense. Most piracy committed is noncommercial copying and redistribution. The GPL expressly permits this. If copyright law were amended to make noncommercial piracy legal, it wouldn't affect the GPL at all.

> Well you can't have it both ways! Either you accept the copyright or you don't.
Yeah, that totally isn't a false dichotomy, because it's totally true that the only options are to keep modern copyright law or throw it all out entirely.

Comment Re:Do they? (Score 1) 510

> So payday finally rolls around and surprise, surprise, no pay check for you.
This is one of many bad analogies that often get trotted out in an attempt to bash pirates. When you work for somebody you essentially enter into an agreement to exchange your services for money. Your services are not something that can be copied at will; they are scarce, and there is therefore substantial monetary value in them. Compare that to something that can be pirated, which can be copied at will, which means that any given digital copy is, essentially, worthless.

So basically, your scenario is a bad comparison between something with unlimited supply and something with limited supply.

Comment Unenforcable (Score 1) 2

You make good points about the technical faults with the proposed measures. Another thing to keep in mind is that it won't be possible for the US gov't to meaningfully enforce this. They may be able to get the big providers- such as Skype and Microsoft's BitLocker (assuming there aren't already backdoors in that)- to comply, but there is plenty of FOSS encryption software which will easily be able to get around any attempt at regulation of this magnitude. The feds try to get the developer to rewrite the app? Cool. He leaves the country, or transfers control of the project to someone overseas. And how do they deal with the fact that the source code for the unbackdoored version is publicly available? Try to erase it from the Internet? Yeah, that's not going to work.

On the other hand... perhaps it's like the War on Piracy. You can never fully stop people from sharing files online, but you can make it too difficult and tedious for the average person to bother with, and thusly prevent it from becoming mainstream. Maybe they only want to target the big providers that service the majority of users, users who are computer-illiterate and neither know nor care about encryption. Us basement-dwelling geeks will still have our namby-pamby free software letting us have private conversations about how the government totally sucks, while nearly everyone in the country is digitally spied on...

If that's the case, then it's all the more reason to educate people about the dangers of the Internet and the value of cryptography.


Submission + - US Gov't To Mandate Encryption Backdoors (nytimes.com) 2

Andorin writes: Put off by the general public's easy access to strong communications encryption systems, a group of federal law enforcement and national security officials have pulled together a plan that aims to ease the government's burdens when carrying out digital wiretaps. Under the proposed measures, which are to be submitted next year, communications services that encrypt connections between users, such as Skype, would be required to provide a way for law enforcement agents to decrypt messages- essentially a backdoor in the services. Additionally, any software that encrypts connections and is not overseen by a central authority, such as OTR for instant messaging and PGP/GPG for email, must be redesigned to include a backdoor for federal officials. The EFF's article about the proposal reminds readers of the "crypto-wars" of the 1990s, when the government attempted to undermine encryption software, but failed in the courts in 1999.

Comment Re:As someone whose income depends on the PS3... (Score 2, Informative) 167

> By suboptimal you mean it shows a sales increase when steps are taken to reduce piracy which make it inconvenient for those who say that piracy harms no one.
No, it doesn't. It has one poster /claiming/ that sales dropped with the introduction of keygens and rose when she implemented antipiracy measures. It does not in any way represent evidence that piracy causes substantial harm overall. I already told you this, so please stop repeating falsehoods.

Comment Re:As someone whose income depends on the PS3... (Score 1) 167

Keep in mind that the only damage done by piracy is from those who would have bought it otherwise. In the case of a $5 indie game, you may say that more would be inclined to buy it because of its much more appealing price (leaving aside the issue of game quality), but the indie game wouldn't have anywhere near the market exposure that the $60 professional title would have. Piracy helps these small indie games by spreading mindshare of the game, and if the game in question is good, more people will know about it and buy it. If the game developer encourages, accepts or tolerates sharing of the game, that will get them some goodwill from the fans as well.

Comment Re:As someone whose income depends on the PS3... (Score 3, Interesting) 167

> Why do you expect people to provide their work to you for free?

This is a bad question.

First of all, you can't make assumptions about my motives. Nowhere in any of my posts have I said that I pirate software. Don't make personal attacks in order to legitimize your own position.

Two, the wording of your question is biased towards copyright holders. I see questions like yours quite a bit, and I just now realized how slanted they are. Your question assumes that a copyright holder has to somehow go out of their way to provide their work for free, as you said, but in most cases of piracy the copyright holder has to do nothing at all except release the original work, which is what happens anyway. The phrasing of your question adds undeserved emotional weight to your position by implying that those evil pirates are forcing the poor artist to proactively do something which benefits only them and screws the artist. It's dishonest.

A better question would have been "Why do you expect to have access to the work of others for free?" but my first point about personal attacks would still apply.

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"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer