It appears that one of the lawyers against the Pirate Bay in its recent case has had his named changed and not by choice. Henrik Ponten had his name changed legally as “Pirate Ponten” in what appears to be a revenge attack for his work against file sharers on the net. Apparently in Sweden this is an easy thing to do and on 29th May of this year “Pirate Ponten” found this out.
Is this something that the pirate movement finds funny? Apparently so, because numerous forums are basking in the “glory” of changing someones name without their consent. Great way to put your views across in a mature fashion. Is this what the pirate movement thinks will make people take them seriously?
Henrik Ponten said:
“The pirate movement have previously tried threats and when that doesn’t work, they do this…”
“The pirate movement often speaks about the importance of personal integrity, but the name change violates my integrity.”
Its worth noting that another person (Indiana Gregg) recently found out about the wrath of the file sharer, when she sent an email to the Pirate Bay asking them to take down a file. You can read more about that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana_Gregg
The Pirate Party themselves had this to say:
“To poke fun at the opposition is perfectly OK, but this kind of conduct is just bad form. We distance ourselves from threats and trouble-making. It does not benefit the party…..”
On the back of this comment, the Swedish Pirate Party have just secured themselves a seat in the European Parliament. Apparently the Pirate Party has achieved 7.1% which will secure it at least one seat. The leader of the the party had this to say:
“Together, we have today changed the landscape of European politics. No matter how this night ends, we have changed it….”
So do the Pirate Party results show an overwhelming desire to remove the copyright laws that some people find draconian? or is this simply voters showing disdain at the current leadership and policy? Who knows, but the one thing it does show to me is the powerful medium that the Internet has become. 15 years ago this would never have happened (IMO) and fringe parties would not get the exposure they do now, giving them the chance to reach an audience that in the past could only be dreamed about.
Is this a noble cause?
A name that many people involved in file sharing will know is Axxo. This user provides standardized DVD rips for the masses that frequent the areas of the net that the law abiding public don’t. No matter if you visit IRC, Newsgroup Binaries, Bit torrent or anything else, you will not fail to notice the plethora of rips that Axxo has encoded.
Axxo is seen by some as an “elite user” (IMO) when if you consider the reality, all he/she does is use software to rip and encode DVD’s into Xvid. Nothing more.
The Pirate Bay itself is simply a collection of meta-data linking to users illegally sharing files and the users are not (IMO) people who “buck the system” because of what they consider to be extortionate prices by companies. Let me explain.
A common argument for sharing files is that prices are too high. Lets dispel that one immediately. Look at the registered versions of shareware software that cost little more than 5 gbp being shared. That to me doesn’t say that the file sharing ethos is one of boycotting extortionate prices, to me it suggest file sharers simply want everything for free. I don’t buy the argument (no pun intended) that people who download copyrighted material go on to buy the original, since in the rare cases that this does happen I believe the original would have been bought regardless. I’ve said before that law is not something we can “cherry pick” to suit ourselves and I’ve yet to see a compelling pro-piracy argument put forward.
Do ISP’s really care about file sharing?
Yes and no in my opinion.
Certainly when trying to sell you their services they will tout their fast speeds, yet as users are reporting, companies like Virgin Media are not as appealing (IMO) when they have your money. If you take a look at a Virgin Media advertisement (for example) to me it suggests a wholly different experience to the user who said the following:
“Throughout the year we suffered with slow broadband at certain times of the day and experienced multiple times where the services stopped working completely for an extended period of time.” http://www.avoidvirginmedia.co.uk/
I think its fair to say in many cases ISP’s are hoping the increased interest and popularity in file sharing will get them more custom, after-all, its not their intellectual property that is being shared and its not their loss. This would be fine if they provided what their adverts implied, but as one user has already commented:
“Virgin Media is very fast, as long as you don’t use it”
Goblin – firstname.lastname@example.org