News from the front – 2


1) What a surprise! Two more studies confirm that people who share files illegally actually spend more money on culture than the rest of the population.

- The first study is a new extract from the much-awaited Copy Culture in America and Germany, made by Joe Karaganis and Lennart Renkema. The study focuses on music and notably shows that people who are illegally sharing culture (online or offline) buy 30% more music than those who don’t. It also reveals that large parts of people’s music collections come from friends and family, and that for the younger generation, most of culture sharing is made offline, through Hard Disks, Usb Keys and Dvd-Burning. Of course, The RIAA (via their survey firm) and IFPI has been trying clumsily to discard the study, but Joe Karaganis is a very kind and patient dude and you should also read his answers here and there.

- The second study comes from the Dutch Institution for Information Law and expands the scope to movies, books, games, concerts and box office tickets with similar results: yes, file sharers are the biggest culture consumers, and illegally sharing culture doesn’t prevent people from supporting financially what they like.

The survey also looked at the effect of the court-ordered Pirate Bay blockade in the Netherlands. Results show that among the customers of ISPs who already enforce the block, only 5.5% say they have stopped downloading or now download less.

2) Down with Panama, Hail Portugal

- Panama is about to pass the worst copyright law ever. The 510 Bill grants the Panamanian copyright office the right to pursue filesharers directly and fine them up to $100,000 USD, with the money flowing directly back into the copyright office in the form of bonuses for the officials! And none of the money flows to the rights holders (artists and labels)! reports that Bill 510 has been approved by the Congress and is now awaiting approval from the executive branch. Crafting of the bill was unknown by Panamanians and there is still no space for public debate over the topic.

- Non Commercial Culture Sharing have been declared legal in Portugal!
Last year, local anti-piracy organization ACAPOR reported the IP-addresses of 2,000 alleged file-sharers to the Attorney General. The Portuguese prosecutor came back with a ruling and decided not to go after the individuals connected to the IP-addresses. “From a legal point of view, while taking into account that users are both uploaders and downloaders in these file-sharing networks, we see this conduct as lawful, even when it’s considered that the users continue to share once the download is finished.” The prosecutor adds that the right to education, culture, and freedom of expression on the Internet should not be restricted in cases where the copyright infringements are clearly non-commercial. I want to marry him.

3) The Pirate Cloud

The Pirate Bay have first stopped using trackers, then switched to Magnets instead of Torrents. Their new step is now to get rid of servers and operate from cloud-hosting providers around the world, to frustrate attempts to take The Pirate Bay offline. They stated on their blog: “Slowly and steadily we are getting rid of our earthly form and ascending into the next stage, the cloud. Our data flows around in thousands of clouds, in deeply encrypted forms, ready to be used when necessary. Earth bound nodes that transform the data are as deeply encrypted and reboot into a deadlock if not used for 8 hours.  All attempts to attack The Pirate Bay from now on is an attack on everything and nothing. The site that you’re at will still be here, for as long as we want it to. Only in a higher form of being”. Lofty words, right ? More pragmatically, a TPB member told the TorrentFreak website: “Moving to the cloud lets TPB move from country to country, crossing borders seamlessly without downtime. The hosting providers have no idea that they’re hosting The Pirate Bay, and even in the event they found out it would be impossible for them to gather data on the users. If the police decide to raid us again there are no servers to take, just a transit router. If they follow the trail to the next country and find the load balancer, there is just a disk-less server there. In case they find out where the cloud provider is, all they can get are encrypted disk-images”. TPB says it will retain control of the technology – transit routers and load balancers – which allows to distribute file-sharing requests across multiple computers, and also hide the identity of both the cloud-provider and its users.