Miscellaneous Travis Hite on 02 Dec 2007 12:16 pm
I’ve always liked the swagger a lot of Swedes seem to have. They have great education and health-care. They have fantastic chocolate. They have those banks I keep hearing about. They’re politically neutral, which is pretty cool. Really interesting though is that, currently, Sweden is neutral waters in the file sharing debate. The biggest results of this is the success of Pirate Bay. I’m not much of a pirate, myself. It’s not that I outright have problems with piracy, some of my best friends are pirates, but I imagine if Cake didn’t make money off their next album they might stop. What a terrible world that would be.
Debate continues to rage over how much piracy hurts media sales. While the industry would like to promote a one-to-one loss of sales, the real number is perhaps far less. Often, people take it as a system of “trying it out.” Granted, DVD and CD sales are continuing to decline, but the entertainment industry overall has never been as strong as it is now. As well, many are critical of the various industries themselves which often seem to take money from the artists and continue to pump themselves up. With the WGA strike currently in full swing, and the countless RIAA debacles, controversy has never been higher. Even EMI, one of the “big four” music labels, is reducing its funding to the RIAA. EMI is generally regarded as the most forward-thinking of the major labels, and this is a sign of a distancing of themselves from the generally unpopular association.
The antics of Pirate Bay continue to be amusing. In October they snagged the domain IFPI.com from The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a pro-industry international lobby group. They have even undermined CBS with the addition of the last.fm widget to the results page for extra information on artists. CBS, owners of last.fm, can do little more than accept the use of this open-source API, and perusing legal action against them would be against the “music social revolution” spirit the website promotes.
Still, after the raid on popular music sharing site OiNK, and TV Links, it seems amazing that they can keep up such antics. Never boring, the pirates continue to fly their flag in the face of its industry adversary. They do not see themselves as hurting the industry. In their own words…
“I do pay for it by listening to music, by bringing the music to my friends, they bring it to their friends and they go to concerts, I go to concerts. The actual product doesn’t have to cost anything in order to make money.”
Of course, this riles the industry, and they have made very powerful enemies. While there is a court case to be brought up next year, changes to Swedish law would have to take effect before Pirate Bay could possibly be brought down. Even if they could, after the raid last year of their Swedish servers they have been cautious. There are servers they do not even know about that can be activated across the country. They are even working on their own file sharing model which would increase throughput, and increase anonymity over the already protective BitTorrent.
While they come off fairly confident in the interview, one has to think that at least somewhere in the back of their minds they know that they run the possibility of going to jail for some time over this. As of the moment they can be considered the primary target of media advocacy groups worldwide. Still, the Internet has proven itself to be a multi-headed hydra in the past. When one cuts off one head, three more emerge. The legal battle over the rights of the parent companies have only gotten murkier and murkier since the days of Napster, which almost seem archaic now by Internet standards. I do wish them the best of luck though, the Internet would be a lot more boring without the plucky pirates.
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