Somewhat more/complementary details seem to be available on: https://torrentfreak.com/feds-seize-kickasstorrents-domains-... — e.g. regarding methods:
[...] The complaint further reveals that the feds posed as an advertiser, which revealed a bank account associated with the site.
It also shows that Apple handed over personal details of Vaulin after the investigator cross-referenced an IP-address used for an iTunes transaction with an IP-address that was used to login to KAT’s Facebook account. [...]
Some aspects which seem interesting to me, from what is reported:
• that apparently KAT owner tried to shield off DMCA takedown requests (which I'd see as trying to affirm being legal);
• that according to the articles he seems to not have used Tor (or fumbled in it).
(Assuming no parallel construction and that he's actually the guy, etc. etc.)
EDIT: I couldn't really find any Polish sources — suppose because it's middle of the night here... (the single article — http://www.dobreprogramy.pl/Zalozyciel-Kickass-Torrents-zatr... — seems to be written based on the above English-language ones)
The article implies that the investigator had a FB and iTunes IP address and THEN Apple gave the rest of the user's details but that doesn't really make sense.
I'm guessing that they gag-ordered and subpoenaed FB for account info, but how did the investigator get the iTunes transaction IP address prior to getting user details from Apple?
I think the more likely scenario is that FB was forced to give up user details and the only valid info was the IP Address, and then Apple (and probably google etc.) was forced to search through their databases and produce any records related to the IP address in question.
Or maybe the USG has a database filled with iTunes transaction information -- I really wouldn't doubt this at all. I'm sure music is a partial indicator of "dissident" level in whatever algorithm is used to assist investigators.
Not hard to connect the pieces once you have a money trail. That's an investigative gold mine.
This actually sounds the most believable to me, excellent point.
Could also send the BTC to shapeshift.io and convert it to Monero and then convert it back to Bitcoin at xmr.to.
I am really shocked they had an advertiser pay to a bank account, especially one in the owners name. It's a huge OpSec mistake.
Some tumblers are honeypots and many are scams that will skim the top off your btc while barely doing anything to your coins' "taint" rating.
Even if one's understanding of bitcoin and practice of opsec is impeccable, there is still the need to worry about trading partners out to the nth degree; one weak link somewhere in the chain may very well lead back to an otherwise-meticulous user. One also must worry about getting discovered through some other means, like getting a computer booked into evidence and having the bitcoin wallet found and a legal order entered compelling its decryption.
If law enforcement finds out someone unsuccessfully engaged in an attempt to conceal their possession of bitcoin, that person is adding years to a potential prison sentence with conspiracy charges, money laundering, tax evasion, etc.
Bitcoin is awesome for everyday use. Anyone who wants to use it for "underground" endeavors needs to do some serious homework, and not just plunge in believing "it's anonymous currency" or "it's anonymous as long as I send my coin to a tumbler after getting it".
If this was the case then why has it never been used as a means to catch someone so far? There have been hundreds of darknet related arrests and none have been related to bitcoin.
Pretty much every other investigative means is easier than tracking down bitcoin like that.
And don't confuse "nearly exclusive choice of criminals" with "only criminals choose it".
After all, cars are the nearly exclusive choice of bank robbers for getaways. But I don't think you are suggesting that every person driving in a car away from a bank should be documented and reported to the authorities.
I do think reporting every single BTC user to a three letter agency is pushing it though. I would understand doing that for accounts that raise red flags beyond simply using BTC, but doing that for every single one seems a bit paranoid and ineffective anyways.
I'd be interested to find out more about how banks implement possible black/white lists on their users. How far does it affect risk mgmt? Will users get negative points when applying for a loan? And how are customers punished who dare to bet on alternative banking like BTC or god forbid send cash to a bitcoin wallet.
Who knows more? (asking for a friend :))
Subpoena the trading sites? An active adversary would be running the trading sites, though I doubt they'd waste that info on a low-level case. LocalBitcoins says they retain all messages for 180 days, up from their previous 90. Is that purely for internal disputes?
Sure, if you're not doing anything illegal enough, you can get away with simply using sites in multiple jurisdictions and hoping it's too much of a pain. But let's not pretend it's not traceable. I'd only be happy with zero knowledge proofs (if they're real; I haven't understood the maths at all.)
Can't you just wait longer than 180 days then? The investigators then subpoena for the transaction records to link it all back together and the records longer exist (in theory).
The difficult one-time work will be done when chasing terrorists. Everyone can be compelled to hand over data.
Crime is impossible.
> Crime is impossible.
Lets not get carried away
High level analysis could find btc-altcoin transactions that "fit" together, maybe with later transaction when the person will eventually cash out, and use other data thats not obvious to us right now. A difficult problem, but one that is straightforward, fashionable (big data), profitable (lots of money at stake), and potentially something that law enforcement/intelligence agencies work on.
We tend to underestimate future capabilities ;)
I'd even argue that its counter-effective to progress. Instead of punishing people for making more efficient systems, we should reward them, and try to integrate.
while OP is right -- this doesn't seem to serve majority, the truth is that the system is rigged and this supposed to serve a few multinational corporations that feel their profits are severely cut due to copyright infringement, meanwhile posting record earnings.
it is still mind-boggling to me that this non-US human being doing allegedly non-violent crime will probably end up serving 25 years in american prison (wire fraud is a magic word in LE indictments) for a bunch of bits being configured the way to organize in magnet links that sharing of - as far as I know, similarly to URLs, had been found in courts around the world as a non-infringing act.
Ignore that the system is rigged for the moment. I think it is safe to say these companies really like making more money. I have always wondered why then, they spend so much effort enforcing copyright laws rather than trying alternative methods to solve the problem and make more money.
E.g I know a lot of people who have some unblocking service and Netflix. Now they could increase prices for Netflix, so we wouldn't need the unblocking, but that's not on the cards. They would rather spend their efforts blocking me.
Is this purely to satisfy contractual obligations? I'd assume that any existing contracts must be in place for such a long time that making changes can't be done for quite a few years into the future and there is no realistic way to amend existing contracts. The contracts would have to cover new productions too.
Otherwise, this whole thing makes no sense to me. They appear to be giving up revenue, for no benefit to themselves.
I'd have thought they also pay lump sums to get the streaming rights per territory.
Also I am proposing the subscription increases to get access, possibly per territory you want access to.
For one example of what we do know: House of Cards is not available on Netflix in Europe . I'm sure Netflix is not happy with the situation but we can only guess as to what it would have cost them for the rights.
That almost sounds like a Bernie Sanders level paranoia of words profits and corporations. Honestly share-worthy content exists because of these entities in first and I will never fault HBO, Adobe or Microsoft going after those who are pirating their software. I think it is government who is going after someone who cant defend himself and just pretending to have done something.
That can mean very different things depending on your definition of 'going after'. If they chose to engage someone in a civil suit and could prove realistic damages, then in principle I wouldn't have a problem with them attempting to protect their IP.
But using the force and authority of the United States government (Homeland Security involved in enforcing IP infringement? Really?) to extradite a foreign national on criminal charges? That is in no way proportional to any of their perceived damages, and it goes to show just how bluntly the government is used as a tool by those with money and influence.
Homeland Security is in the copyright infringement business now. They've been added to the standard FBI warning at the beginning of all movies, probably as a way to make themselves feel better after all those mean TSA groping memes made people laugh at them.
An unthinkable amount of money has been spent and made from the drug war for highly questionable ROI to the public.
What type of reduction in police work would take place if the drug war was ended today? 20%? 30%?
The war on drugs is a job machine. DEA agents fly around like international playboys from the books I've read. Plus international governments get tons of money from the US to run their own interdiction programs.
There has to be some level of influence to keep the 'war' going from these perverse incentives.
Only if you exclude people working for the public sector from you know, the public.
Those things create jobs for voting constituents. That's the main ROI here. Reduction in crime, drug use and increased security are just beneficial, but not necessary side effects of these initiatives.
How about the fire, police, schools, environmental protections, consumer protections, and court system? How big is the military defending your patch of land?
I admit there are problems, but I'm always amazed when people say the government doesn't do anything, then take a car to work on public roads, listen to the radio (FCC), eat food (FDA), etc.
he did make those roads... he paid taxes in gas, insurance, purchase of a car tax, license plate tax... all that do indeed sponsor roads he drives on!
as of military defending his patch of land, hard to argue. Africa is much bigger than USA -- how much they spent as a continent on defense? Bet 1000th of what US does. Other than that, he might choose to protect his own land with the second Amendment and keep military out of it, no?
I was saying the government does lots of work. It doesn't always function great, but it does a lot right too.
I do profit from it from time to time to reach for very old clips, lives or albums that you cant find. It doesnt really hurt business if they dont sell it.
You can't really blame America. They've decided their jurisdiction extends to the entire planet. And, rather, than argue the point, the rest of the world just bends over and adopts the position. When faced with such supine sycophancy, why would America not keep acting this way?
I have utter contempt for Poland on this [and similar] case/s. What a contemptible lick-spittle, a once fiercely independent nation has become!
outside of the US. seems plausible.
Besides, everything is just bits! If you represent the whole monorepo as a single integer, denying people access to it would be akin to patenting a natural number!
For example we have private electricity providers, but the prices are regulated and capped. Private companies can't just do whatever they want when it concerns things we consider to be people's fundamental resources.
The very latest content does get artificially restricted due to various business reasons (licensing deals, etc.) and I suspect that will change over time to go to an instant-release model. Ditto for fewer geo restrictions. We're starting to see these changes more and more. For music, there are far more options available: Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, etc. where one low monthly fee lets you play almost anything you want.
However, despite all this incredible ease for lots of different media, people still want content for free. Maybe the solution is to combine enforcement with an educational campaign so that people are aware of the myriad legal options available to them.
We have a 21st century distribution model tied to a mid-20th century legal framework and business model. It's hard to say what is fair in every case. What I feel is not fair is throwing the book at all of these site owners, especially when the laws are written in the U.S. but are somehow stretched to where they apply to people who never set foot there.
In 5-10 years, they could still be in jail while technology remakes itself to the point where either distribution and payment has finally started working gain, or torrenting has gotten to the point where it's nearly impossible to trace the activity to any one person. Neither option seems unlikely, and punishing people now for something that doesn't hurt anyone too much does not seem like it's worth it.
My wife is Brazilian and I'm British, so we're trying to bring our son up as bilingual. Trying to find legally distributed mainstream kids films dubbed in Portuguese is incredibly hard. Sure, you can buy them in Brazil... and then they don't play on hardware in the UK. Neither Netflix nor Amazon Prime have them. Meanwhile, a quick search on a torrent download site gives me access to hundreds of mainstream films dubbed in Portuguese.
Torrents allow me to watch anything, anywhere, with minimal hardware. I don't need to buy DVDs or DVD players. I don't have to work out which subscription I need to use to watch the latest episode of a program. I have downloaded torrents for which I already own the Blu-ray DVD, but it's in a box somewhere and I can't be bothered to find it.
So yeah, there are lots more use cases for torrents than just wanting to be a cheapskate.
Of course that may be a tortuous infringement. In the UK we briefly had a right to format shift but the media corps managed to kill that breakout of common sense pretty quickly.
We're in a pretty ridiculous legal situation again now, https://torrentfreak.com/itunes-is-illegal-under-uk-copyrigh... - ripping a CD you own is considered copyright infringement. It's moronic, there's no way the public would ever vote for this situation.
If such format shifting were to happen, I don't see what could possibly considered morally wrong about it?
Cheers and abraços
But not films like Toy Story.
For other people, like me, it's the lack of a reliable, convenient, well done solution. I won't touch iTunes with a 50 feet pole. All the on demand services I've tried have a limited catalog, reliability problems, stupid policies, try to push a bunch of stuff down my throat.
The torrent flow is perfect. Type the name of almost anything, wait 5-15min for it to download. Quality is amazing, no commercials, no bullshit.
I would gladly pay $100/month if I could go to IMDB and have a one click, 1080p download button on everything. Seriously.
> it will be in better quality than the torrent which was ripped off some TV broadcast and re-compressed
Sorry to say, but that is very out of touch.
I've lived in South America for quite some time, and paying $20 for a movie is completely out of the question for 95% of people. Piracy is completely open here, everywhere you have shops burning and selling bootleg DVDs for around $1.
The solution is not to educate the public, but to fix the distribution model.
No way to get the english dub even anywhere close to release in Germany, so the only solution was such a streaming site.
And now with the VPN ban, Netflix is useless, too. There's no realistic alternatives.
This is simply not true. In my experience, only the most mainstream content is available legally on portals like itunes or netflix. If you want to watch something more rare (art film, old foreign film, film with subtitles in different language) you can try to buy very expensive DVD+shipping and wait few weeks for it to arrive or you have to use illegal sources.
This seems like a bus-factor problem. Why does it keep happening? Why aren't these sites being run by multi-national teams that can survive a loss like this?
Even The Pirate Bay is "just" Swedish, so a sufficiently-motivated Swedish Government could shut TPB down. Meanwhile, there's no single country that could shut down e.g. Wikipedia.
Trust. You have to be sure the people you're working with are diligent, careful, and won't turn you in (and likewise for them).
For example, you could operate (your instance of) your pseudo-legal service yourself, but open-source the codebase (sticking it on GitHub even) and accept patches from anyone.
You could also implement a simple replication architecture for your service, where at any time one node (yours) is considered to be the 'canonical master', and then other nodes can join the network as slaves, receive replicated state, and run as mirrors. Sort of like Linux package repository mirrors.
With such a setup, arresting the original maintainer just means 1. a codebase fork by a new maintainer, and 2. a (probably manual) network master-node election.
And that's just a setup that lets you stay in complete control without having to trust anybody (since you still "own" the codebase, and the master node, until you disappear.) If you are willing to relinquish control to the system itself, you could just build your service on a DHT or a signed store-and-forward hierarchy or a blockchain or whatever. There's no reason that things that are essentially "a BitTorrent tracker exposed through a website" need to have their canonical state anywhere at all.
What.cd open sourced Gazelle, the source code for the website and tracker. The core development team accepts pull requests, but they are themselves insulated from the owner and operator of what.cd.
Since opening Gazelle, many other private trackers have adopted it.
It wouldn't surprise me one bit if ethereum came to be a way to host illegal websites considering bitcoins main market is for illegal transactions.
If someone starts cooperating with some type of law enforcement you're screwed, and if anybody gets caught and is facing a 50 year charge unless they cooperate, you can probably bet on which one they'll choose.
I mean, I would assume it's because it's shady business. Even if you made it multi-national, there are probably only a few places where you could reasonably keep the server hidden for an extended period of time (Keep in mind, these aren't Tor services or anything, they're pretty out in the open as far as I can tell) - and you're making money off of ads, so actually getting paid is another complicated issue. And really, if you only need one person, why bring in the risks of a second one? I don't think you'd be very concerned about "keeping the scene alive" if you're going to jail.
Wikipedia is easy in comparison because most countries don't throw you in jail for running a Wikipedia server.
To answer your question I think these are one man shops because they get shut down before reaching the size that you could have a larger team involved. Maybe if someone without a profit motive started something up they'd build a system that solved the problem above and could therefore last longer than a lone individual's contribution.
You don't have to shut it down, you can simply prevent access to it, like in China. Problem solved, if that's something you considered a problem in the first place.
Or you could just download the Wikipedia CD. It contains 5500 articles from 2007:
Neither of those two are very up to date of course, but it shows that it can be done.
USA government always have a way though, there's no way either place would stand up for their own citizens once the USA start threatening sanctions.
I read the majority of comments here on HN about dated business models, big corporation dislike, the old executives don't understand the new market, etc..., but then a young indie artist in LA finds out Zara the clothing retailer has obviously copied her designs, and the lynch mobs are out to boycott Zara, send letters and other things to Zara and their attorneys. 
I have not inquired directly, but I am guessing a number of the indie artist's supporters have downloaded a torrent or two. How do they morally distinguish the two, or how does anybody who is against copyright or property rights of IP?
In Zara vs indie designer, Zara steal the design and uses its power to distribute and sell it to the whole world. The indie designer cannot compete, or fight. The fact that Zara used her designs will not advertise her own products or make her money (maybe it did after the public outcry, but I guess it will not be the case for every indie designer).
In torrent website vs content producers, the torrent website or its user are not more powerful than the producers. They do not put the producers' business at risk. Everyone knows who made the original product, and may buy some genuine products or derivatives : torrenting can act as advertisement.
One of the other justifications for torrenting is that the content is not available in your country. Similarly, the indie design was not available in all countries. But the source of the issue is different : a small business may not distribute to the whole wold because of logistics, whereas producers and distributors voluntarily block content from being available when it could be.
I am holding up the simple concept of property rights whether you are a big, and not necessarily bad, company, or you are a struggling moral artist. If you download torrents for any reason, it is still against the IP laws that protect them, even if you are doing it to make a statement. You are in effect against the concept of IP. Now, if you turn around, and call the big company evil or bad, because one of its 20,000 designers lifted a design off of a web site, how do you justify the apparent contradiction or hypocrisy.
I don't say this judgmentally, since I have struggled with this for decades. I buy indie games, donate to worthwhile endeavors when I can, and hope for the same reciprocation. I see the point for change and looking for new ways of doing business that benefit both sides of a deal. After all, the definition of a good bargain or deal is when both parties shake hands after exchanging goods and services, and each feels they received good value in the transaction when walking away.
To be honest, rigorously honest, sometimes demands calling ourselves out on our own contradictions and addressing them. I see to much dancing around the truth to justify what is currently stealing.
Regarding power balance, I think it cannot be considered alone. Another justification to IP infringement is the damage or loss you potentially cause to the IP holder.
Not being against the concept of IP, I would like to see it applied with more nuance.
For example : big company stealing from indie is wrong to me, but big company stealing from big company seems less wrong in my mind.
To continue on indie games : downloading torrents for AAA game seems less wrong to me than downloading indie game. The relative damage that I cause is more important if I don't buy the indie game.
I am still struggling with this reflection. I would like to be able to remunerate each IP holder in proportion to the value the content had to me. And also, to add objective value in the calculation on top of my perceived value.
Zara had the ability to pay the indie designer for their work and didn't.
It'd be like if Bill Gates made a subscription payment torrenting site specifically for indie games.
If it had instead been a housewife in the Philippines who used the design to make clothes for her kids (or even a little money on the side) then very few people would care.
If you agree and respect IP laws, stealing by a big company or by a poor person is indistinguishable morally. They are both wrong. You may emote or perceive them emotionally different, but that is a different argument. You can't selectively apply it to different entities. Abandoning a child at a roadside to die who was under 5 years old was not illegal in ancient Rome at one time. Morality or legality? All or none?
My cloudiness eluded above is one of thinking that a newer business model will evolve eventually on IP, but we cannot try to force or accelerate it by committing illegal acts if we agree and live under those laws. The alternative is anarchy and no government, which is a choice to some people.
Note that the following is an analogy.
I have no idea about the facts of the case,
but I'm trying to compare it to downloading
Imagine there's one designer for most of the world's t-shirts but she won't sell them to the UK so you can't buy one. Zara attempts to do a licensing deal which is profitable for the designer, but she's greedy and thinks she can get more money without the licensing deal. So Zara simply copies the t-shirts, UK customers get their t-shirts and the designer gets nothing.
This is essentially the problem. Disney has an almost complete monopoly over the distribution of kids films, and like all monopolies, they end up over-priced with poor service. The government doesn't seem to care. But torrents allow us to break that monopoly.
It's not just about the cost. It's about how the digital distribution industry fails to service customer needs because its monopoly means the status quo is so profitable.
I wouldn't use the GPL as a copyrights poster-boy since it subverts the 'normal' use of copyrights (restriction of distribution by 3rd parties) - the FSF calls it 'copyleft' for that very reason. My feeling is that being pro-GPL and being pro-bittorrent is consistent with the "information wants to be free" mindset - no cognitive dissonance necessary. The day HN becomes pro-Mickey-Mouse laws then you would have an argument.
Also, "information wants to be free" is more of a vague idea than anything else. I want information to be free. I'm a big user and proponent of open source software (heck, I wrote a non-trivial feature of Webtorrent). That doesn't necessarily mean I'm against copyright.
There is a world of a difference between 'allowing' distribution of source code and mandating it (like the GPL does).
In my opinion, copyright isn't a problem in regard to television, films, music, etc. Everyone is in agreement that the people who develop this content deserve to be rewarded for their efforts and that copyright is a reasonable way to enforce this. For sure, some disagree, but I think this is the attitude on the whole and I believe that it's consistent with the way many feel about the GPL, and the outrage when the GPL is violated.
Again, in my opinion, the issue is how this content is distributed (or in many cases, the ways in which it is _not_ distributed). Isolating customers geographically and then (somewhat arbitrarily) deciding not to sell to those customers is a bitter pill for said customers to swallow. Selling media, like BluRay DVDs and then telling customers they've bought a license and can't back up that content or move it to a more convenient device, is another move that seems almost designed to upset customers.
If the content holders wanted to eliminate the effectiveness of torrenting sites, they could do so pretty quickly. They could license their products in ways similar to how music is licensed. They choose not to, in my opinion, out of greed and certain amount of disinterest in what their customers want.
In the case of cloning: You deny the progenitor the claim to its creation.
In the case of downloads: You make a copy of something. Whether it equates to a lost sale or not is a the point of contention. In many cases it may simply be the case that the product is unavailable, at all, or through conventional distribution channels.
In fairness that goes to a certain extent for cloning as well, but the big issue there is an unwitting consumer can buy a clone thinking it's the real thing, with possible consequences for the consumer, and perhaps even damaging the image of the creator of the original product.
Do you mean a "competing app", in which case it's fair game. Do you mean a straight copy? You might have a discussion there, but why involve Chinese people?
Do you mean something like [legit] "ReactOS" which is a reimplementation of Windows XP? That satisfies the needs of a wider unserved market that still needs it?
Or some hypothetical "vigilante localised" app for people who need it in their own language. Sounds fair enough if the developer isn't serving that market.
That's the general model of copyright that I support - it's legal to copy anything for non-commercial use.
The copying for non-commercial use is sometimes a moving boundary: For instance, you download a PDF of a technical book that is extremely expensive, or plain not available in your country, but you use it to just study on your own.
All the way to you download some video, sound, music, code, or book and incorporate it into your YouTube channel or your site that generates revenue for you. Now it is blurred IMO.
If you are parodying something, you may get away with it, but if you are leveraging it to avoid doing the work to generate the content yourself, you are stealing. It is commercial usage in this case, but many disagree it seems, but then point the finger at Zara mainly just because their a company. The actions of their lawyers are definitely illegal and low tactics, but just remember, it was most likely a very low wage designer that lifted the artwork from the indie artist's site. He/She will most likely or was already fired. Zara will be fine.
A lot of sites distributing content like this are set up as for profit ventures.
I leach and seed a lot, I send a lot of donations and bug-fixes to opensource projects, indie developers and small music bands, buy indie games on gog and steam. This year I spend on voluntary donation ~£400 (in BTC). Does it count?
I doubt many torrent site operators make much money from their operations, and if they do make a profit now, the level of risk (and prospect of bankrupting legal actions in the future) probably don't make it worth it.
A person who want to support young indie artist will do so through many avenues, some which supporting that artists IP. That doesn't mean that they must be in favor of IP, or must support every form of IP, but simply that their intention is to support the young indie artist. They morally distinguish the two, not on their opinion about IP, but the opinion of the author.
Remember The Pirate Bay?
Why don't studios have their own similar sites where they
allow free torrents of some shows and offer paid torrents.
As a busy person, I'd much rather pay for something which guarantees:
- high quality
- no subtitles
- no buffering issues
- no viruses
- click and play
> Although the software isn't directly malicious, the used rootkit hiding techniques are exactly the same used by malicious software to hide themselves. The DRM software will cause many similar false alarms with all AV software that detect rootkits. ... Thus it is very inappropriate for commercial software to use these techniques.
Freakin' unbelievable. And I have to pay for that shit if I'm someone who is willing to be sony's paying customer...
They don't want change, they want business as usual, but their business model is dead, it's dead and rotting and they are going to accept that one of these days. Meanwhile pirates will keep stealing their worthless products.
There is big generation gap on how the execs view the business model vs how their teenagers are using the product.
And as the new generation slowly takes over, the model will evolve.
Evolve or die right!
Also see my comment above about IP and copyright in reference to Zara copying an indie artist's designs and placing the patches on their clothing.
How come it is not ok when the shoe is on the other foot?
To be clear, I am sincerely asking here, since I go through bouts of taking one side then the other on music, movies, copyright, and other IP.
There is a case to be made that people should have a human right to see or consume any media which might be enriching to their lives, even if they can't afford to. But seeing a movie is not the same as archiving and distributing that movie.
In my opinion, software and movie piracy is a side-effect of an industry that does not properly serve it's own market. Whether it's right or wrong doesn't play a role in that. Smart people would recognize that they are playing the game wrong, and they would have adapted their model by now. Some have tried, Netflix is a great effort to move in the right direction but it's been crippled by the idiotic licensing structure of the pre-internet business model.
Without getting into debates about morality or ethics, the MPAA and RIAA are getting what they deserve for responding to these challenges by responding with hostility toward their own consumers. They have not responded properly to the situation, and they dug themselves into further trouble.
It probably is different legally.
There are civil remedies and criminal penalties.
Criminal penalties tend to apply for willful infringement for commercial gain.
So when I download a movie it doesn't count. If I download movies and sell them it does. Zara removing the copyright notices from a designer's work, placing it on their clothing, and selling it pretty clearly moves it into the criminal end of copyright violation.
On iTunes, EVERYTHING is DRM free. If you purchase it, you get a mp4 (or mov), and that's it. No DRM.
So nothing is stopping you from paying for much of this content legally.
Movies are another thing, they appear to be DRM free as long as they are on a machine that is authorized with the purchasers Apple ID. Once copied to a computer that isn't authorized, the movie will either refuse to open or ask you to authorize the computer with the purchasers Apple ID because once again all your info is embedded into the file.
And if that wasn't bad enough, if you try to play a iTunes bough movie on a external device that does not support HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Copy Protection) it will also refuse to play.
I got burned by this once. There once was a way to remove all the crap Apple puts in their movies, but the software that could strip it out hasn't been updated for ages now.
I was infuriated to discover when I bought one on my computer in work it was then just about impossible to transfer it to any device that I could actually want to listen to it on (without resorting to hacks, or the analogue hole - through which it would have amounted to about 6 CDs of content).
The licence was not transferable to other devices either so I couldn't just download it again either.
Generally hits good enough on all categories.
of course torrents still win in content. Especially newer movies.
I want to watch a newer movie.
Is it on netflix/hulu/hbo/prime? Nope
Is it on AIV paid? Yes.
How much? 20 dollars.
That's too much for a movie I probably will only watch once. Any other options? At best a rental on AIV for a few bucks. That's pretty borderline. I'd pay that to see a movie I really want to see, but for one I'm taking a risk on it's a bit much.
I'd pay more for Netflix if it meant they get those new movies quicker. People seem to lose their shit when they announce a 1 dollar price increase though. Ridiculous, but there you go.
vs torrents I can just go into a webapp and pick out a movie. It gets downloaded and organized for me. I can watch it on my PC, my TV, via streaming, copy it to my iPad. Whatever. Easy, reasonably quick, free. Downside is it's illegal and immoral. I avoid pirating any content that I can easily access (I have some older shows that never made it past DVD, and are hard to find in general), because there really is no justification. When I was a student and content was mostly in expensive blu rays, I absolutely pirated.
I think he opened himself to US law by hosting the servers at one point in the US. Regardless, it is rather fascinating that his first visit to the US could potentially be from extradition.
This makes it even more interesting. I also didn't hear any Polish media reporting his arrest (I live in Poland).
I would like to know where in the country he was arrested and what he was doing in Poland - no luck so far.
Other than drugs and murders, I have a hard time believing US govt to give out its citizens to third parties...
See https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07BUCHAREST1286_a.html for details.
This sort of hypocrisy seems pretty immoral.
the numbers don't necessarily balance: probably a lot more Mexicans commit crimes in the US and flee to Mexico than the other way around.
Usually, I would think, extradition entails countries extraditing their own citizens back to face charges at home; people will tend to commit crimes where they are, and run away after to escape; most people are citizens where they live. Countries with higher rates of immigration will have more foreignors around who have a natural place to escape to if they commit a crime.
That's not quite accurate.
> A critical test set out in the treaty is that the British request must include "such information as would provide a reasonable basis to believe that the person sought committed the offence for which extradition is requested."
> This requirement does not apply to requests submitted by the US to the UK
another quote from the article says "a Home Office-commissioned independent review...found the US had not refused any extradition requests since the treaty came into force. A total of seven US requests were refused by the UK in that time."
that asymmetry in the treaty is not the result of a disparity of negotiating power nor clearly unfair-to-one-side. It's because the US has "untreatyable" constitutional rights that UK does not grant its own subjects, so for due process to grant an extradition request, the UK must submit that evidence. Since the US and UK are such close allies, that treaty may reflect the UK's desire not to slow down the process in either direction. Perhaps (this is pure speculation, we don't have the data) if the US complied in the other direction as the UK does, the UK courts would grant more of the extradition requests.
I'm not meaning to argue that the asymmetry works out fairly for every single defendant, clearly individuals will suffer more in one direction than the other, I'm saying that "the People" on both sides are not necessarily disadvantaged if we "presume evidence of guilt" and a symmetric desire to punish.
and this is for another topic, but the presumption of guilt is how the system is designed to work, otherwise, how could they even compel you to show up in court, or hold an axe murderer while awaiting trial? the commonly quoted "presumption of innocence" applies when you are in court in front of judge and jury; the entire rest of the system from arrest thru the trial is based on a necessary presumption of high probability of guilt.
You seem to have put a lot of weight on the numbers here. Do you know the total number of requests on both sides? Without that we can't really ascribe meaning to the refusal of 7 requests by the UK.
Even then we don't know if, for example, the UK seek tacit agreement before entering a request, which would account for no official refusals by the USA.
All I really know that's pertinent is there was an extradition of a young website operator who hadn't broken UK law (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_O%27Dwyer) and had never left the UK, not even was hosting content in the USA - any cases like that happen in the USA?
In order to trade, you need to sign treaties, and that's not even including bi-directional extradition treaties that most countries are also willing to sign.
So yes, a young website operator in the UK got caught up in the web (spiderweb, not world-wide-web) of treaties that are meant to allow for largescale trade of goods including intellectual property consisting of popular entertainments that are owned by giant bloodsucking megacompanies.
Definitely sucks to be him; but Aaron Swartz, Kim dotcom, Napster... these all came before, and I doubt the kid "didn't know what he was doing". Kids lack the capacity to make good judgments about what they are doing even with knowledge, and many people benefit in small ways that seem harmless from downloading content so they sympathize with him, but you are leaving out the part where most teenagers don't manage to get caught up in these legal entanglements from activities conducted on such a large scale. Maybe there is something exceptional about his overachieving on the scale of "these stupid rules don't apply to me, I'm the gingerbread man"
I just read the story in the news this week about the Taliban taking advantage to the "tradition" of "boy play" in Afghanistan (essentially cops molesting children) to train boys to assassinate cops. Thinking about how much of the world lives in those types of culture, I just don't feel the need to shed a tear or rail against the extradition of criminals between civilized countries.
I call him a criminal because he is a criminal; at the same time and same probably as you, I also would like to see legalization or decriminalization or deregulating of many of the things the bloodsuckers make money from, but I don't find myself going to jail while I wait, nor do most people. I also don't litter even though it would sometimes be convenient for me to do so.
People who flout rules are not generally altruists, and I don't think he is an altruist.
Of those, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stein_Bagger, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaston_Bastiaens, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kirk_(New_Zealand_politic... are not drug or violence related on a quick glance.
Recent Polish policy is to become _the_ continental European ally to the US. So I guess this guy's fate is rather bleak as the Polish authorities will do everything they can to please the US.
He will get extradited and probably will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Not Polish name, rather Ukrainian or Russian.
So, two or three files, by Hollywood accounting.
and if its not ads, then it's the donations.
I'd say where the analog breaks down is the media companies aren't exactly extorting the people, nor price gouging.
In your opinion.
At least where I live, we get a choice between AT&T or Comcast, where AT&T is over land line DSL @768k not guaranteed, plus I'd have to pay for a phone line vs Comcast at up to 300mbit. Guess which I went with
Anything that accelerates the downfall of the toxic incumbents in the US is a win in my book.
Over 2.1 billion people in the developing world lived on less than US $ 3.10 a day in 2012.
Downloading torrents means you've got a computer, power, internet and most likely food and clean water. You're not 'poor'. You're mingy.
I find it darkly ironic that a legal purchase of music helped them catch the guy.
KAT apparently had a Facebook page, so step one was serving Facebook with a search warrant demanding the list of IP addresses used to administrate that page.
They likely then went to major companies like Apple, Google, etc. with search warrants for any billing activity (valuable as it comes with a cardholder name and address, usually) matching those IP addresses.
Or by now Apple simply has its own room 641A.
My main complaint about this is that I'd rather my tax dollars be spent stopping crime that causes physical harm.
That’s exactly why US government is most active in that area.
They collect taxes from US-based film studios (all mayor are US-based, five of them are in California, NBC in NY, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_film_studio#Current) and software companies.
I would suspect that purely domestic crimes are usually handled through the courts. For example, I don't recall the RIAA trying to get individuals prosecuted for crimes nearly as often as them suing people.
You didn't directly make this distinction, but your point about preferring to allocate tax dollars to physical crimes would be a strange way to view changing the law.
If we the people don't like how the law is executed, we can try to get the Legislature to pass a law that forces the Executive branch to do it our way. Or we can elect a President or Governor who agrees with us.
So break these laws. Break them as much as is possible. Convince others to do the same.
Civil disobedience is the engine of progress.
18 U.S. Code § 201 - Bribery of public officials and witnesses
"directly or indirectly gives, offers, or promises anything of value to any public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official, for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by such public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official; or
being a public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duty, directly or indirectly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by such official or person;
My understanding is that prosecutors would be heavily incentivized to find an underground bribery operation on Congressmen; it would be a career-making move, and they could make press releases to everyone. People clearly care about corruption and bribery, as evidenced by this election cycle.
The commenters in this subthread have already agreed that it is good to give prosecutors extensive leeway in prosecuting crimes, or even deciding whether something is a crime. And in this particular case, the incentives line up. So it seems unlikely that congressmen are engaging in outright bribery, with the prosecutors letting them get away with it.
Again, if you know something that the prosecutors don't, you can contact your state Attorney General to report a crime. They would probably at least open up an investigation. For example, it looks like 5 Congressmen have been prosecuted over the last year alone, so they're hardly immune to the law:
Additionally, the FCPA makes it a crime for US companies to bribe foreign officials(such as in the Ukraine, where this article's criminal seems to be based). I've had to sit through 3-4 of these anti-corruption seminars, and it sure seems like another law that prosecutors would love to follow up on.
My guess is that the lobbyists are simply more persuasive, and seem to care about the law a lot more than the other types of people who comment on the law.
You cannot hope to compete with lobbysists from Disney, the MPAA/RIAA etc. It's heavily skewed in their favour.
Who knows maybe the next guy will use Tor, Bitcoin, read Grugq's blog and be 5x as expensive to hunt down. Thanks US tax payers!
Yes, piracy websites will always exist, but the purpose of these shutdowns is to minimize the net profitability of operating piracy websites and to deter would-be operators. However, the constant shutdowns of piracy websites does create a perverse incentive in which those that succeed do so at a massive scale.
But it takes only one guy who thinks "they will never get me as I'm smarter" to have your next KAT/Pirate Bay that will (allegedly) cause billions dollars of damage.
And fortunately for us, Eastern Europe is full of the these kinds of people. :)
It will be an interesting case to watch if he takes it all the way to trial. I don't think it's nearly as open-and-shut as the DOJ would like everyone to believe every case it files is though.
They do not even host those any more
All of the Torrent Sites are only Indexers of Magnet Links, no different than google. The BT Client then takes the Magnet Link, downloads the torrent file from peers in the network.
When you Click on a download link from KAT nothing is downloaded from their server, it is simply a protocol link that tells your BT client what file you want.
It is Technologically No different than a HTTP url, so if KAT if violating Copyright law then every other Search Engine is as well
Interesting (and somewhat very worrying) proposal, however.
bullshit of course. He simply hosted hashes of torrents that other people uploaded.
As far as I know he even acknowledged dcma takedowns.
Two things: If you're going to build a torrent indexer, don't profit from it. Keep it alive yourself, with NO ads, just plain HTML and JS and images.
Second: This is why I vastly prefer usenet.
It just occurred to me, what if someone wanted to go the legal(ish) way, setting up a non-profit organization to host the tracker? Such an organization could still manage ad-derived profits, keeping only those necessary for its continued operation, and donating the rest to cultural entities, like museums, libraries, independent producers, etc.
Would this be viable in some country?