I had hoped I would have no need to do yet another article on file sharing. I have to repeat (for fear of the email flaming Ive had in the past) that I do not believe file-sharing is right. That being said, the culture of file-sharing and material for free has a connection to the FOSS world which I will explain further.
Firstly lets have a look for a minute at Ms Indiana Gregg. Who is she? Well until she popped up on my tech radar sometime last year I didn’t have a clue, maybe proof that at least the topic of file-sharing has been good for her potential fan base? This would have been the case had it not been for some issues which I feel were dealt with very badly, some arguments that were not addressed in a sensible way and some points which had not been grasped at all by her (IMO)
I will be making a link on Ms Greggs comments section in the hope that she will visit here and respond. Ms Gregg, if you are reading this you will see that in respect file sharing, I agree its harmful to the company/person concerned (Ive even posted that view on Torrentfreak in the past and received a little abuse) I agree that a solution needs to be found that benefits everyone, the end user and the company/person who is the creative talent behind the product. I do not however agree with the way you tackle the subject, your reasoning or your apparent lack of understanding about the mindset of todays technology user.
FILE SHARING / FOSS – A CONNECTION?
This site advocates FOSS and material published under the GPL. In my opinion its a system which cannot be faulted and we’ve seen great results because of it. The emulation scene, alternatives to IE and Windows, alternatives to Microsoft Office, the list goes on. I think the increase in popularity of FOSS (both use and participation) is a result of users believing that they should no longer be paying for material. I believe FOSS projects which create revenue from advertising etc are proving that not only is it possible to get a return, but you also get happy end users. Its great for everyone.
You only need to look at Twitter, Facebook, Googlemail etc and ask would these products be popular if people had to pay for them? I would doubt Twitter would have the user base it does under a paid subscription and maybe if it did then identi.ca would simply get its users. Its a culture such as this where the popular tools/social networking are free that has got people used to not expecting to pay for products and services.
I think file-sharers think in very much the same way. They have no intention of buying the product so they see nothing wrong in downloading it. They can’t understand how massive companies can complain about loss of revenue when they make so much money. These two points are weak in themselves however we can argue about them all day and it won’t change a thing. Something which Ms Gregg and Ms Allen seem to not understand. I would also draw your attention to the numerous artists who have made their views clear about piracy and NOT received adverse comments. Does that say anything to you about the way its been approached by Ms Gregg?
THE INTERNET POLICE – LAW AND MS GREGG
I believe a year ago Ms Gregg was making comments about “the internet police” and making all sorts of predictions about legislation then. Of course nothing has happened for the masses and the file-sharing user base has grown massively from the publicity celebrities who challenge have brought it. (IMO)
One of the reasons I have issue with Ms Gregg and similar making comments in respect of “what will happen” or the technology itself is that they have IMO a financial interest and unless I’m mistake no background of coding any of these technologies. Ms Gregg is apparently (among other things) a musician and if you keep with me for a short while you will see that just like Ms Allen there are further things that need to be taken into consideration when listening to her. Of course an artist (any artist) or indeed member of public can stand up and say piracy is wrong, thats fine but I think anyone (even file-sharers) if they consider the action would agree that its at least “not right” and the copyright laws are in place (rightly or wrongly) Ive said before, law is not something which we can “cherry pick” the bits we like and ignore the bits we dont. That being said, its seems that the law in respect of copyrighted material is a little “fudged” by some, so I hope this clears up a few issues.
Let me link the source of my quotes of what Ms Gregg is saying. They are from her blog http://indianagregg.blogspot.com/ and even in the first few paragraphs she managed to make what I think are poorly considered points.
And right now isn’t very good timing for the file-sharing movement to be looking like a bunch of bullying twats, is it? (oops, see, I’ve just called the ‘bullies’ bullying twats! incredible! what a hypocrit I am. lol)
UPDATE 9/10/2009: This quote is now wrong. Ms Gregg’s original post has now been changed to read slightly differently (by whom I’ll let you decide). You can find out more details of this in the comments section.
No Ms Gregg (by the way its hypocrite) I don’t believe you are. What sort of comment is this? Are you really trying to put across a serious point (which I agree needs to be addressed) by using words like this? She goes on to say:
The thing that bothers me most about all this egg throwing, is that these people who do the name-calling are the same ones who hide behind anonymous identities.
Which at first I thought was sarcasm since I could not believe she would make this remark. Ms Gregg you were/are allegedly a celeb are you not? You rely on being in the public eye to make money (just like Ms Allen) Id suggest as a public figure (of sorts) you rise above name calling and at the end of the day why should the “average Joe” reveal their identity? they are not in the public eye like you are. Funny you should mention about egg throwing. I have been abused by many proprietary advocates because of my views on FOSS/Linux. I expect that and rise above it. I hide behind an anon identity because I make my opinions and write this blog as a hobby/interest. Do you have a problem with me? Rise above it Ms Gregg, if you can’t then I think you do your other celebs a disservice.
I believe another reason why people like Ms Gregg are harmful to a sensible debate is that they seem to be blissfully unaware that whilst rumors of tougher laws and internet police are spread about, people who actually understand the technology behind file sharing are busy making it more difficult for it to be detected. Nobody seems to grasp this. Look no further than TOR which could prove problematic to anyone wishing to track/prevent file sharing. Has Ms Gregg considered this when writing her views? There is also talk of a new protocol with a decentralized swarm and a sort of chain gang type method of data transfer. Ive yet to find mention of her acknowledgement of these new technologies and my opinion is that because the entertainment industry has dismissed this technology for so long (in comparison to availability) they will forever be playing catchup.
The issues surrounding Ms Greggs opinion don’t stop there. Im sure file-sharing per say is not the issue so much as its the taking of material without paying for it. With that in mind file sharers in the UK need to consider that p2p may result in civil action and/or this rumored “three strikes policy” (see below) and piracy/file sharing for profit would most likely result in a criminal prosecution, where is the legislation for the binary newsgroups? where is the legislation for the IRC download? (in respect of the downloader) What I think will happen is that the more noise and issue made about BT the more of a migration towards the binaries and an even more difficult job for anyone trying to find a beneficial solution for everyone.
If you read the digital Britain report (the one that cost the taxpayer money and IMO told us nothing we didn’t already know) even his this to say on the matter (http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/digitalbritain-finalreport-jun09.pdf) :
In relation to rights, the Government believes piracy of intellectual propertyfor profit is theft and will be pursued as such through the criminal law. Thecivil infringement of taking someone else’s intellectual property or passing it onto others through file-sharing without any compensating payment is, in plainEnglish, wrong.
The only way that you will be able to avoid these newly proposed laws that could potentially infringe on civil liberties is to come up with a plan that makes sense to law makers.
Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the Human Rights Act prohibits interference by a public authority against a person private and family life and his home.
In the UK ( and most other countries) file sharing by torrent or otherwise is illegal
I am a millionaire and do not claim to be bankrupt.
Again asking the question, is Ms Gregg really suitable to be a crusader for a sensible file-sharing debate?
Ian Morrow is the husband of Indiana Gregg and since he's not really relevant to this article I'll only mention this, there are allegations of her and her husbands behavior on the internet, one of the allegations is nymshifting in order to make comments. I'll let you look at these in your own time and form your own conclusions. Maybe if Ms Gregg was to visit here and comment she could respond to the allegations on this link:http://www.scribd.com/doc/3977511/Indiana-Gregg-and-Ian-Morrow-Still-mastering-the-internetAre these allegations helping put forward a sensible debate? Already as I type this I see an anon commenter on Ms Greggs blog starting the insults. Firstly they are doing what Ms Gregg appears not to like (hiding behind an anon handle) but secondly they say "The type of person who has plenty of time to make commentary but more than likely does nothing." and I would ask, what are they doing? I have no interest in either the downloading of copyrighted material nor the loss encountered by it, I am a FOSS advocate by nature and a supporter of the GPL and its ethos. What is funny is that just like we see in the proprietary advocacy community Ms Greggs commenter doesn't seem to follow the truth too well. He/she implies I said: "Musicians shouldn't have anything to say about piracy" and I never said that. What I do say is that the answer should be found by people that a/ have no financial interest in the matter and b/ understand the technology and its implications.I, of course already said this, but the post on Ms Greggs site who goes by the name of "the uneducated" seems to have missed the comment I made at the time of:These are but a few examples of why Allen, Gregg et al IMO should not be involved in a solution to piracy or a technology discussion. If a solution is to be found it needs to be tackled with level heads, sensible discussion, but most importantly someone without a financial interest in the subject IMO.I mention nothing of them not being able to give opinion on piracy, but I don't believe (and I could be wrong) that either Ms Gregg or Allen are part time systems engineers (hence their ability to understand the tech may be limited) and since they both have a financial interest, I don't think they should be involved in its solution. Thats my opinion.Of course musicians and everyone else should have an opinion although hasn't Ms Gregg (or her husband) got more of an input into the piracy debate than merely commenting on the web? The question I ask is that why when Ms Gregg/Allen or Lars Ulrich have made comment all they do is create flame wars and draw even more attention to file-sharing arguably increasing the problem? Could it be that they are tackling the subject wrong and the manner in which they put their opinions across is inappropriate for an issue that costs people their jobs, destroys small firms and stiffles creativity (IMO).I'll let you decide. I would ask now though that all piracy/file sharing chat be restricted to this article. I think I have typed all I can on the subject. I am happy to respond to any posters but since we have major Linux distro's ready for release this month which need looking at and there is some good news on the long overdue Openbytes podcast, aswell as some interesting developments in the emu scene, I'd rather not have to devote any more article time to a subject which does not affect me in any way.Goblin - firstname.lastname@example.org