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Police Raid 9-Year-Old Pirate Bay Girl (torrentfreak.com)
472 points by Sami_Lehtinen on Nov 22, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 159 comments

This is the reductio ad absurdum of current law.

We need to work more actively to make this sort of thing stop. There are a range of solutions. We could try to change the laws. We could develop technology that would make it harder to catch file-sharers. We could attack the labels directly by trying to pinch off the sources of their revenue. I'm not sure which would work the best. My guess is that they're better at manipulating legislators, and the way to beat them is technology.

So here's a question for everyone: What new technology would harm the labels most?

Indirect networking much like Tor or I2P.

Translated to BitTorrent, everyone would be using just one extra hop to keep the speeds up but passing around encrypted packages for others would create plausible deniability. You can claim you don't know what the packet that you routed contained, because you can't know that. You can't be held liable for routing traffic per se, much like ISPs aren't liable for routing traffic per se.

Why Tor and I2P don't want to use one-hop connections is that someone with government-level access could deduce the participants by looking at the traffic timing patterns. But MAFIAA at least not yet isn't actively hooked to the major ISPs of the world and can't apply such a traffic analysis. A simple one-layer indirection would hide who's downloading and uploading what. All you see is routing nodes.

If you're MAFIAA and seeding your fake movies and music to this torrent network, you can only see a user's IP address uploading a block to your fake clients. But since everyone is acting on behalf of others and merely routing packets, you don't know who sent the packet and you can't possibly prove that the one who did the last route was guilty. Otherwise merely connecting to the network would mean the user is guilty. The network would of course transfer legitimate files as well, and while downloading a Ubuntu 13.04 image users would also handle these one-hop routing requests of other peers who are downloading/seeding other files.

Interestingly, you would only need to transfer a certain percentage of connections over the one-hop tunnel. You could use zero-hop for the rest. The MAFIAA can't recognize those so it still looks the same as if you acted as the router and fetched a block for another peer.

This could also be implemented as a global free-to-connect IPv6 VPN network. If the IP addresses uploading MAFIAA movies are virtual, nobody knows where they are and who operates them.

Unless, of course, the authorities seed Tor with a whole bunch of nodes that log everything. No timing attacks required.

Tor relies on the fact that even if there's one or two bad apples among the bunch logging everything you're probably going to be safe because you'll go through enough routing nodes that aren't logged for it to be impossible to trace.

Logging isn't enough. You would need to be able to prove that the encrypted blob originated from the potentially infringing IP address and wasn't just merely passing through it. Because if it was the potentially infringing node couldn't have had any clue about what the packet contained.

If all you can see is routing you can't know where packets originate or are destined to. You receive a packet, open your layer of encryption, see where the packet should be going next, log it, and send it forward. You can't possibly know whether the sender created the packet or forwarded it, and you can't possibly know whether the recipient consumed the packet or forwarded it.

You would need to monitor physical network links to determine patterns how the onion style packets travel around.

But with one-hop communications (as suggested by the post I was replying to) then the routing nodes (that could be made to log everything) know both the source and destination addresses as it is the only other hop in a one-hop path.


Someone already attempted to make something similar to what you're describing, but it turns out that it's very hard to do right.

Winny was very popular in Japan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winny

Is anyone of you using OneSwarm? http://www.oneswarm.org/

This is intriguing. I wonder how effective it is in obscuring one's identity.


Edit: I'll explain. Cutting the middleman is the big idea though band camp isn't enough for that. The big labels have very strong marketing capabilities that individual acts can't compete with. Even YouTube, the land of indie, is dominated by the large labels. So maybe bandcamp needs a breakthrough marketing/distribution/discovery platform that can somehow be more meritocratic.

Bandcamp is glorious. I end up buying loads of music there because it's easy, high-quality and I feel like I'm supporting the artists directly, not just lining someone else's pockets.

Agree discovery is a problem. I rely on blogs for that but it's pretty niche.

How about a lawsuit insurance scheme? Pay $X per month and if you get sued the insurance company will take the case to court and pay any damages.

This would kill the effortless €600 extortion scheme, and probably also DDOS the court system.

Possible backfire: It makes the labels even more lawsuit happy knowing that there is a pile of cash there if they win, and / or the cash reserves of the insurance are not sufficient and it goes bust fighting suits.

Actually this would likely be very effective. It's like the traffic-ticket lawyers. Even if you committed the crime, they normally severely reduce the penalty if not let you walk.

Cash piles mean nothing, going to court is extremely costly. The defence lawyers would be very good at their jobs. I know here in Canada, the Carter defence (using an expert, arguing that given bodyweight and the times of, and amount of alcohol consumption, that the machine was calibrated wrong) against DUI was made inadmissible - which is currently being fought on constitutional grounds - as it was 90% effective at giving a judge reasonable doubt when a person blew under a 0.14 (legal limit is 0.08, but suspension above 0.05). Now the lawyers are experts on breathalyzers, will get a court order providing them with all maintenance on the machines so they can argue directly that the machines are calibrated wrong. They're apparently getting the success rates up above 60% now.

I doubt this would work. If you are not willing to pay for a CD,DVD, Software...etc why would you shell out on a monthly basis on the off chance that you are caught?

I, and about fifty percent of people I know, would be happy to pay a small monthly sum (say, up to nine euro) to be able to listen to and download any music we want, at any time, without risk of persecution. Ideally, this money would go to support the musicians, but that's not necessarily a requirement. Unfortunately, no such service exists right now - most of the music streaming services only work for the US, streaming's useless to many of us anyway because we listen to music in the car and need it on CD, spotify doesn't have half the musicians we like...

There's lots of grey area between "doesn't ever pay for any media, ever" and "I refuse to pay $ 12 for a single DVD with unskippable ads and warnings if I can get the movie off pirate bay in seven minutes, wtf".

I suspect that lawsuit insurance already exists, probably meant for businesses. I wonder how much convincing insurance companies would need to offer this to consumers. Maybe there is some reason they don't think it would be a very good deal for them, or maybe they simply haven't perceived a demand and haven't bothered offering/advertising it as a result. Perhaps worth looking into, if you have enough assets already that a lawsuit would present a large concern.

Forgive me if I'm wrong, however isn't this what Kim Dotcom was going to do with his music service? Hit the labels where it'd hurt them the most (less profits) - then the raid came.

I also wonder if Microsoft is currently thinking of something like this. I recently watched 'Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn' whilst I've never played a Halo game or anything (I've just known about it), and instead of making a movie directly to theaters they release it free on mediums people enjoy (bit-by-bit on YouTube then released it as a movie). They definitely have the distribution and technology to do more of this. I hope they do, I really liked that Halo movie, I kind of want to buy an Xbox and play the games now... :)

Focusing on harming the labels directly is probably not the best idea, but unfortunately that's what everyone seems to have focused on.

To me the most important question is why do new musicians go to the labels at all? If technology can help at all, it'll probably be by creating solutions that address that question better.

Instead of better tools for distribution and discovery of old label music, it might be better to focus on the tools for creating new music, starting from composing/jamming to recording to releasing the music to listeners.

But, regardless of how good and effective such a technology may be, it will still boil down to the benevolence of the largest successful company that produces such technology.

For example, Amazon has done a great job of dragging books into the 21st century, but its evil colours are beginning to show. Going from paper books to ebooks is a bit like going from Encyclopedia Britannica to the Encarta CD-ROM, only worse because they can be remotely erased. I have high hopes for Wattpad to take us to the Wikipedia stage, but once they're there, who knows how evil they will turn out to be?

Similarly, someone may solve this problem for music temporarily with superior technology, but in the long run, it will come down to how greedy they are.

>To me the most important question is why do new musicians go to the labels at all?

For the same reason people would rather release an app in the Apple app store than on the WWW: exposure. Someone with an insane amount of talent will make less money than a mediocre performer backed by a media blitz from the music industry. I'll leave examples up to others to come up with.

It's the whole chain. Labels decide what is played on the radio.

What's this "radio" thing you speak of? I'm 40, and I haven't listened to the radio in years. My kids (14 and 17) have hardly ever utilized the radio and have no problem keeping up with pop music.

The radio is on the internet now. There are probably a couple of dozen iApps for it.

Actually a better phrase for this situation is reductio ad malum.

I agree that the laws shouldn't be as crazy as they are now, but why make it harder to catch file-sharers? It's illegal to share stuff like this, and I don't see any justifiable reason why this shouldn't be illegal. However, it should be a small fine in my opinion, and it's a waste of time to break down the doors of these people downloading music unless they are making a ton of money by selling this pirated content.

I don't see any justifiable reason why this shouldn't be illegal

Because sharing is good and it's not our problem if the currently dominant business model has troubles with it?

Even if you think that sharing music freely should not be allowed, the fact remains that we are dealing with an industry that refuses to adapt to new technologies and new customer expectations, and engages in despicable conduct to preserve their outdated business model, as this story illustrates. In this view, accelerating the change, or doom, of this industry is rendering a service to society. Letting them go after file sharers is simply helping them resist change, and only by fighting the symptoms (we're losing some sales) rather than the causes (it's easier to "pirate" than to download legally, legal downloads are too expensive and impose unwanted restrictions).

It strikes me that whoever solves the App Store Discovery Problem can apply the same solution to music. Right now all the biggest gaming companies are solving this problem by signing up (paying) companies with high DAU games to join a sort of gaming social network, sometimes unbeknownst to the user. The network then lowers the cost of user acquisition for all participants. Makegameswithus seems genius in the sense that making it extremely developer friendly will help them win the mindshare of developers and in time, will produce quality high-DAU games for their network.

Labels are essentially big gaming companies, pouring an immense amount of resources for those couple home-run hits. So maybe in the future Makegameswithus will spin off a Makesongswithus and make it easier for any amateur artist to promote their music on iTunes but with all the producer work outsourced like it currently does for art.

I think we need a decentralized, anonymous filesharing protocol, something like i2p or tor, but optimised / adapted for bittorrent.

It would have to be something that anyone can use and is a no brainer to get working. Could even use something like paypal / google checkout / bitcoin to allow artists to accept payments for their uploads.

I have given this subject quite a bit of thought, and I believe the solution is to fulfill this objective: Make filesharing simple and intuitive.

The article states that the girl ultimately failed to download what she wanted, which I don't doubt is due to the complexity of navigating a torrent index and installing and running a torrent client.

For most computer users, torrenting is too sophisticated, and it doesn't help that most torrent websites seem to be focused on scamming their users (including the venerable ThePirateBay). Other protocols for file-sharing are usually no better.

What if a technologically ignorant user can find, download, and play a work of video or music in just a few mouse clicks? I think this would have huge ramifications. Simply exposing file-sharing to a wider audience will increase political support and help counter the content industry's anti-filesharing propaganda.

I really like the analogy of 4 currencies when thinking about filesharing: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/LarsDoucet/20120222/91144/Pir...

Improving the user experience of file-sharing will not only reduce the first three costs to near zero, but after file-sharing becomes easy and accessible to everyone, it will become more normalized in society. In turn, this will gradually decrease the last cost, integrity, to zero.

The endgame is increased tolerance and political support of file-sharing, and disrupting the revenue of the content industry.

So how can we achieve this vision? I am thinking of a high quality package manager application similar to iTunes or Steam. The biggest usability improvement would be the concept of a repository, in that there is a curated database of files rather than whatever users want to upload, which is the standard right now for most forms of file-sharing.

As a consequence, there will be a canonical version of a title, removing the choice of picking between 10 different torrents and looking at seeders/trackers. Because there is now one destination when searching for a specific title, we can leverage existing and user-generated content to include things like graphics, videos, reviews, etc. on the landing page.

There are definitely huge technical challenges involved. For example, an application like this probably can't rely on a central server. So without a reliable server, how can we maintain a repository and support an easy one-click one-download feature? Moreover, we want to protect our users and implement some sort of private information retrieval.

This is an idea I've been thinking about for quite a while, and when I have time (not enough these days it seems), I have been tinkering around and trying to implement solutions to some of the technical problems involved.

I like that strain of thought with making it more easy for users to download stuff. But the problem with repositories is, that they are requiring a specific intent of the user to do something.

Let me try to contribute to the discussion with a few unrelated thoughts with the hope that some others are willing to share their own too.

I would love to see is for example an in-browser plug in, that is based on the torrenting idea. Similar to streaming, but just that the cached data is redistributed among those who stream a particular video. It somehow should reach a level, where users have a plausible deniability to not be able to differentiate between legal/illegal anymore and at the same time an implementation that is ideally only depending on an existing widespread standard/plugin.

Another idea would be a physical device that handles torrent downloads, i.e. the VPN connection, encryption of external HDs, and has a super simple and stupid interface to use. There would be lots of opportunities to cooperate with existing VPN providers plus advertising on trackers should be relatively cheap.

I like the steganographic approach, and it could also work with a repository. Consider the following:

-Let Pc be a copyrighted package in the repository

-Let Pd be a public domain package in the repository

-Let Kc be the "key" of Pc

-Let Kd be the "key" of Pd

The keys are stored in the metadata of the packages, so we don't need to break any copyright laws to get them.

Suppose we have the following operations:

-E(Pc,Pd,Kc,Kd) = X

-D(X, Kc) = Pc

-D(X, Kd) = Pd

With this infrastructure, if we want to get Pc or Pd, we simply ask for X and then decode our desired file. This also gives plausible deniability, but I'm not sure how this will hold up in court.

This is analogous to downloading some thing after encrypting it. Or a zip file with a password.

Its a clever hack though. Because you can always argue, that File you downloaded has meaningless contents and that some algorithm at your end is re arranging it as a meaningful form.

But the copyright enforcers can always argue this is a clever way of stealing something. More like smuggling a big thing by dividing into pieces and transporting them in surrogate objects.

Therefore it is key that the legitimate vs questionable content ratio is not getting too much out of balance.

I am sure it helped a lot for Megaupload's public perception that regular people actually used the service for sending files and were screaming about the government stealing their holiday videos. The narrative of the Torrentfreak story is awesome as it humanizes the subject and creates sympathy for the cause.

In an ideal case an approach would fill a minor existing need in a way that is impossible to separate from "other" content. I was trying to do this in the comment above by suggesting some form of torrent driven YouTube alternative (i.e. video embedding witin a browser), but contravert's encryption idea could really make this even more awesome.

Apple and Google have large enough platforms where if they publicized a "direct-to-artist" payment system, you could see it getting a lot of use.

Something like that would obviously not be healthy for their relationship with the record labels and would never happen. But you need a large enough platform to make a difference. What about Facebook?

Facebook won't be any good because the labels can just bribe them to turn you in after you use their system to download a song.

It will obviously be a startup company that solves this problem, and technology will be involved, but it is not fundamentally a technology problem. It's primarily a problem of misunderstood economics.

Instead of trying to monetize recorded music, which has virtually no hope of maintaining the artificial scarcity (and thus salability) it enjoyed during the last century, musicians need to return to their roots and find new ways to monetize live performance and other real-time interactions. Recorded music should become a loss-leader for these kinds of transactions. You may not get a $100 or even a two-drink minimum for "tickets" to a live stream, but you might also fill a few orders of magnitude more "seats".

The ultimate unit of marketable scarcity is immediacy. There is only one "now". Once it's gone, you can never, ever have it again. Barring the mass-availability of time travel, "now" isn't going to be commoditized, so it ought to be a fairly safe thing to base your business on. For example, "we'll post the recording for free next month, but if you want to see it happen right now, you pay (directly or indirectly) for access." Whatever drives the last nail in the coffin of the labels, I'll gladly wager 5 years of my life in a startup that it's going to involve this principle.

Second, there's a problem of social conditioning. Not so much on the demand side, but on the supply side. Musicians are taught to worship blindly at the alter of intellectual property. When Napster first appeared, I was a student at Berklee College of Music. That was pretty much ground zero and I remember it feeling like armageddon. Selling IP was all that is good and holy. To most of my musician friends and acquaintances, it still is.

This bias has to be overcome by helping musicians make more money from non-IP sources than from IP. That is the only thing that will convince them to throw away everything they've ever learned about their own industry, and throw off the yokes of their voluntary servitude.

With a nod to Etienne de la Boetie: "I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces."

As an aside, my startup is out to make the music business a better place for musicians and their fans. We're looking for a UX/graphic designer who's also passionate about the profession of music. We can offer room, board and equity for the right person. Email me if you're interested (address in profile).

Distribution is solved. Marketing is not.

Every work of art has its audience. The focus now should be on helping the art and the audience find each other.

Clicked through to the article hoping to see a picture of the laptop. Was not disappointed! :)

On topic though, this just shows how ridiculous the MAFIAA is getting these days. Unfortunately, this episode played out negatively on the artist as well - who probably had nothing to do with the event. So piracy harms the artist, but in this case the MAFIAA hurt the artist even more by prosecuting someone for it [1] ? Not sure if that's justice, but it feels quite strange to think about it.

[1] - The article says that the artist experienced a serious backlash on her facebook page from enraged fans.

I'm wondering if the backlash might actually be a good thing. If this sort of backlash becomes common, there will be a disincentive for artists to sign up with records who indulge in such nonsense. Perhaps the system will adapt such that prosecutions like this would be eliminated.

> If this sort of backlash becomes common, there will be a disincentive for artists to sign up with records who indulge in such nonsense.

Unfortunately this is the last thing on artists' minds when they're about to sign a deal with a record label, and that isn't going to change anytime soon.

That's true, but established artists might have some leverage. If they get fed up enough, they will start looking for alternatives.

> there will be a disincentive for artists to sign up with records who indulge in such nonsense

No, there won't be. The recording companies will keep doing what they do and the artist will occasionally tweet how awful it is but they can't do anything about it since it's the big bad corporation. The company will take the blame along with its cut.

I've mentioned it before, and I'll say it again: hold the artists accountable. They are the one these organizations are speaking on behalf of. Call them out on their tweets about how they support this directly.

Or do more than call them out. If all the people who posted a useless message would instead avoid buying/watching/listening to anything that involved a certain artist, if we could somehow destroy one big artists career, then no artist would want to be involved.

Basically, use old media's strategy against them: we can't touch the big guys, they're too big. But if we could destroy someone they depend on it would eventually kill them too.

Well, by hold them accountable, I thought it was clear that you would also not buy their products. Regardless, I still think calling them out would do more than simply not buying their album.

Latest spin from the .fi copyright mafia is "this demonstrates how we need legislation enabling softer measures for enforcement", cue 3 strikes etc badness.

Maybe people will stop buying music from the MAFIAA

> there will be a disincentive for artists to sign up with records who indulge in such nonsense

Why would a creative person who's primary method of feeding the family are checks from publishers not want their publisher to diligently protect the revenue model?

Because they understand that "protecting the revenue model" distinctly different than confiscating 9 year olds' laptops.

Because "protecting the revenue model" is destroying the whole market. Instead of "protecting" the existing model, the music industry has to innovate. Doing what they're doing might squeeze out a little cash in the short term but it's a sinking ship and when an alternative breaks out, every artist that isn't part of the new model will be left out just as great bands are left out of the current model now.

The picture I have in my head now is a group of police gathered around a Winnie-The-Pooh laptop listening to the latest Chisu music.

I envisioned the music video to Weird Al's "Don't download this song."

In this case the piracy didn't hurt the artist as they couldn't get the working files and went out and bought the cd. So even though it started with piracy they bought the music legitimately.

That kind of makes me wonder how it works, or the logic. If you download something to try it (pirate) then go buy the same content you'll still get in trouble? I understand that the law was broken then the legal way to obtain the content came but doesn't that sort of deter you from bothering to buy in the future? My idea above really would matter most for say downloading one song from an album then buying the album (books/movies you'd have the entire content anyways).

Just a curious thought as I'm sure I have a lot of the details quite wrong but following the logic here: if you've downloaded any part of an album you might as well download the entire album rather than buy the rest.

Well, (and I'm not defending what happened here, just explaining what I suppose may be the reasoning), the problem with BT is that you're not just downloading the album, but also uploading and sharing it back to the BT swarm. Compare with the reasoning why downloading is/used to be[1] legal in the Netherlands: Copyright consists of exactly two rights: the right to make public and the right to make copies. Since Dutch law already allows to make "home copies", this means that only the uploader is breaking the law, not the downloader, because the right to make these "home copies" is not contingent on how you obtained the works in the first place.

Unfortunately most filesharing networks, and BT in particular, won't let you download without uploading and sharing back.

Of course the details of copyright and IP enforcement in Finland would be very different. Still, the point is, if you use BT to download a copyrighted music album, you're violating copyright not just by obtaining a copy, but also by redistributing it back to the BT swarm. Buying the album may make right on the former, but not on the latter.

[1] I'm not sure but I seem to remember they reverted that decision a while back. It was all based on a stupid error by BREIN's lawyers in the Kazaa vs BREIN case a long time ago. (BREIN is basically the representative of RIAA in NL, as well as a rather shady organisation)

I doubt that is the girls actual laptop. Looks to clean and unused, more like a product picture. I would imagine her laptop to have stickers and glitter all over it.

Given this wasn't related to the RIAA/MPAA (given that this wasn't a US case), I wouldn't lay the blame directly at their door.

The copyright laws in Spain have been modified from pressures made by the US government ,in fact Joe Biden on behalf of RIAA/MPAA, even threatening with commercial sanctions. I think we can extrapolate those pressures to the rest of the world. It was known as the Biden-Sinde law, now it has changed to Sinde-Wert (name of the ministers who obeyed the orders as seen in wikileaks).

Yes, the U.S. influence is enormous. Very visible in the case of Wikileaks. Their ability to alter another nation's laws at will is unnerving. I wonder how effective a technological solution may be, if they can easily find a judicial way around it.

I think there should be the same zest in seeking justice for governments that wage wars and bankers that rob citizens, as it is for a 9 years old watching Winnie the Pooh.

I think it's pretty safe to assume that most (if not all) of the copyright insanity worldwide stems from the RIAA/MPAA. It would be willing to bet a lot that if they became sane, most of the rest of the world would, too.

Don't buy music controlled by the RIAA. Just don't. The only way to stop them is to starve them. They're major campaign contributors, so the law will never be on our side until they're gone.

And by the way, don't download said music from sharing sites or friends. Artists need to see that we won't pay them any attention, with wallets or ears, if they associate with known extortionists.

Figuring out which labels are and are not RIAA affiliated has become more difficult in recent years. My former go-to place for this information, riaa radar, no longer exists, and the RIAA members page (http://riaa.com/aboutus.php?content_selector=aboutus_members) is of questionable accuracy.

For example, until recently Matador records was listed as a member. I emailed Matador and they basically told me that RIAA keeps re-listing them without permission. I don't follow the music industry closely enough to know which other labels are mis-listed as RIAA members, but I'm certain the number is non-zero.

It is also possible that Matador does belong to the group but has told you they do not.

That's true. This only supports my point thought. Finding out which music is RIAA-controlled is very difficult, if not impossible.

No, artists need to see an alternative way of distribution to realize, how can they make it big without the "help" of leeches.

Artists need to come up with alternative distribution themselves if it's important to them.

A boycott isn't made up out of individuals. Doing this is a waste of your effort unless it's part of a focussed campaign.

Where have you been? Many individuals like me have been actively avoiding RIAA and MPAA products as much as possible. http://www.musicweek.com/news/read/riaa-revenue-reaches-new-...

If you as an individual believe it's the right thing to do, then it's not a waste of time for you.

How do you tell what music is controlled by the RIAA?

If I was a billionaire looking for ways to burn money, I'd set up a legal defense fund for MAFIAA victims.

We wouldn't have go broke defending everyone they sue. All it takes is a few cases to establish their abusive practices and suddenly courts start looking at them as "vexatious litigants" who file lawsuits in bad faith; abuse court procedure by e.g. jurisdiction shopping; using the court's subpoena power to get names and addresses for the sole purpose of extorting settlements with no intention of actually going to court; improperly joining hundreds or thousands of unrelated cases to save on filing fees.

When they realize someone who has the money and willingness to sue them is looking at these cases very carefully, suddenly the police fall in line and start going "by the book" and following their own procedures: Only taking evidence that's actually needed, only keeping it as long as it's needed, and returning it in good condition. Again, all we have to do is have a few successful cases and we can prevent thousands from going through what's happening in this story.

The age of criminal responsibility in Finland is 15. So I'm at a loss at what is going to happen to this 9 year old girl. Certainly downloading music without paying for it is wrong. But there are much better ways of dealing with this than sending in the police.

And justice needs to be public. (With a few rare exceptions). Forcing people to sign NDAs is creepy and weird.

I'd be interested to know what would have happened if the father sent photocopies of the receipts for the music that they bought the next day - I like to think that would have been enough to call off the lawyers but I understand that it probably isn't.

I don't think this happened because the girl downloaded music. She got into trouble because she used BitTorrent which, by default, makes you upload everything you download. The MAFIAA goes after uploaders, not downloaders. If the girl had used something like MegaUpload to download all her music, all her troubles would never have happened.

Therefore, I don't think it would change anything (from a legal point of view, although IANAL) if the father could show receipts for the actual CD. If the girl ripped a CD and put it up on BitTorrent, that would still be illegal regardless of whether she paid for the CD.

In the US they have (recently unsuccessfully, thank god) gone after people who did not upload but merely "made available" for upload. The idea being that even if you didn't upload, but there was the possibility that you could have, they still will come after you.

How can this work in the context of bittorrent? Well, imagine an unpopular file with say 5 seeders, all with 100% of the file, and no leachers. You fire up the torrent, download the file from 5 different people, "seed" for a few minutes with no takers because you were off making dinner, then return to your computer and close your torrent client. You have just "made available" for 5 minutes, even though you never distributed anything.

Yeah, this crap has been thrown out recently, but that won't stop them from sending you "pre-litigation letters" demanding money, or from even hauling you off to court and forcing you to defend yourself.

They go after downloaders do <10 seconds of Googleing to see.

Depends on the country. In the UK I can't think of any cases of downloaders being pursued by the BPI (British equivalent of the RIAA). They have deliberately erred on the side of 'educating' consumers about legal alternatives to piracy rather than dragging them through the courts.

Heck, the authorities took down Oink's Pink Palace, arrested the owner, then ended up dropping all charges against him and not pursuing any action against the site's users.

I would guess that they seized all of the computers in the house. Where I live (the UK), that seems to be SOP for crimes involving computers - they take your computers, gaming consoles, ipods...

Oh, and you don't get them back.

I remember that there is either a law or a royal-cort ruling in Finland that the confiscated HW needs to be returned in a timely manner back to the owner. So let's hope the little girl gets the winnie the pooh laptop back :)

Once investigations are complete you should have your property returned.

As absurd as it sounds, it does make sense to seize all property capable of storing data, and that includes games consoles, iPods, etc.

  > Once investigations are complete you should
  > have your property returned.
1. If they police never end up charging him, they will tend to keep the equipment indefinitely[1] 'just in case' they need to use it to charge him in the future. Even if they determined that no crime was committed.

2. There is a high likelihood of the equipment being returned in pieces with him having no recourse to sue the police for damages because they were broken 'during the course of the investigation.' Or maybe they were 'logged in as broken' even though they left his house in working order.

[1]: There also exists a high likelihood that they may 'walk out' of evidence and magically turn up in the hands of friends/family of police who are none-the-wiser about where it came from.

Should != would. And there's also such thing as forfeiture - and with it, to confiscate, the government has only to have "probable cause", and then you have to prove that this property was not used for criminal purposes. They do not need to charge the owner in any crime - just to suspect him.

"Should" is the important word in that sentence - there doesn't seem to be any guarantee, here.

I totally agree re: data storage, for serious crimes at least.

>I'd be interested to know what would have happened if the father sent photocopies of the receipts for the music that they bought the next day - I like to think that would have been enough to call off the lawyers but I understand that it probably isn't.

Reading the guy's original rant (in Finnish) on Facebook[1], I can tell you that he actually did do that. He sent a picture of the CD and the receipt to the lawyer and explained the whole situation to him. He didn't hear back from the lawyer after that, and assumed that he had decided to back out (because really, it'd make sense). Fast-forward to almost a year later and the police show up on his door to confiscate the laptop.

[1] https://www.facebook.com/aki.w.nylund/posts/1015113904124507... (though obviously this won't be of much use to anyone who doesn't understand Finnish)

EDIT: I decided to translate some relevant parts of the Facebook post. I initially thought of translating the whole thing, but frankly the original text is rather badly written, which makes it pretty painful to translate.

Okay then, what follows will be a long and exhaustive tale in regards to my earlier status post.

Everything started about a year ago - my daughter asked where she could listen to some of the songs from the latest album of her favorite artist Chisu, since she hadn't saved up enough money to buy the album yet (but her friends at school already had it, apparently).

It was a Saturday evening and I was leaving for work, slightly behind the schedule as usual, so I quickly showed a couple different search engines that my daughter could use and told what keywords to look for. The next day my daughter told me she did find some songs, but that they "didn't work". And apparently she had managed to even "download" something, but that only resulted in errors on the computer screen. I couldn't keep watching all this pain pour out from my little girl, so we marched to the closest supermarket and I bought her the CD from this top Finnish artist.

Fast-forward to Spring and I get an e-mail from some attorney, claiming that I had illegally distributed a musical record on The Pirate Bay. As a result, I'd have to pay 600€ (SIX HUNDRED EUROS) in charges to a specified account (the e-mail actually had an account number in it?!) and sign an NDA so that I wouldn't be able to tell anyone (or anything) about these charges or the reason for them. The first impression I had was that this had to be some sort of Nigerian prince -type scam, but after checking the attachments and looking up the "attorney's" background, I fired a quick e-mail back that basically said "What in the fuck is this thing about?"

Unfortunately, the answer didn't tell me anything new - just repeated the same "pay 600€ and sign the NDA, or this will go to court" from the first mail. After that, I realized that this was probably connected to my daughter googling Chisu and managing to download some songs (that didn't work) and it was probably some kind of "trap" set up by a record label, my ISP and the police. I sent another e-mail to the attorney detailing the likely chain of events that could have happened here and attached two pictures along with it: one of the purchased CD and another of two concert tickets for a Chisu gig that I was going to attend with my daughter.


When I didn't hear any answer from the lawyer, I figured that even he must have some common sense and had decided to drop the case in favor of some "real" criminal deals.

It isn't justice, it's extortion.

IANAL but I expect they will pin it on the father on the basis that he paid for internet access and therefore responsible.

at least over here in Germany it has been ruled that the parents can't be blamed for their children's internet use. If all else fails, blame it on the kids ;-)

Until what age would they be considered children for this ruling?

Presumably the legal age of responsibility, at which point they become responsible for their own actions.

I don't think this is sound logic. If you pay the electricity bill and then someone electrocutes you are you responsible for your own death? :-D



Perhaps I needed a bit more clarification:

"Downloading music that should be paid for, and not paying for it, is wrong if you keep that music for longer than you need to decide whether to buy it or not is wrong. Most people would make an exception for format shifting. EG you own a CD and download a pirate MP3. In theory this needs to be paid for (and is included in law in some areas) but in practice it's not much different to ripping your CD yourself."

"if you keep that music for longer than you need to decide whether to buy it or not"

I never understood how people came up with the caveat about trying before you buy. To me, it always seems to make a mockery of the whole thing even more. DOwnload an album. Listen for a couple of days. Go to the record store. Buy a CD. Throw it in the trash. Keep listening on your ipod guilt free, but still illegally.

Anyway, my point is that a lot of people don't agree that downloading music without paying for it is wrong. You could argue the point but I you can't just dismiss it with a "we can all agree that.."

You're talking about morally wrong.

I'm talking about legally, technically, wrong.

Then, where is it written in the law that downloading is OK as long as you keep it for only the time required to make a decision on whether to buy it or not? And why would the opinion of "most people" matter to what it legally wrong?

You might want to stick to the word "illegal". Wrong is far too overloaded as a word.

I see. My mistake then.

WHen people say "wrong" I assume morally wrong as opposed to illegal. But legally I'm pretty sure it's "wrong" to download songs to hear them before you buy a CD too.

The word is "illegal", not "wrong".

You have a point. But if you prefer listening on your iPod, you would buy the MP3 instead of a physical CD.

That depends on whether the music exists in MP3 format, though. Until yesterday, there was no AC/DC on online music stores like iTunes.

I know everybody loves to offer anecdotes when it comes to piracy, but I would never purchase music if I hadn't first downloaded it. One example, I heard of a band called Imaginary Cities from somebody online. Gave 'em a download, absolutely loved them. Sent $10 to the band's Paypal to cover the pirated album.

Six months later, I still really love this band. I go to their website and buy the album digitally. My thinking being "I might as well purchase it the right way".

Six months later, they come to my town. I buy a ticket, and also purchase a physical CD (cause I'm a sucker).

I wouldn't have bought their album 3 times if I hadn't been able to pirate it first. I would have never even heard them play.

Now I don't claim this is the case for all the music I download. A lot of it is terrible (I grab the SXSW compilation every year). But I would spend far less money on music if I had to buy an album before I could listen it. And not just a 30 second sample, but enough time to really learn to love it. I didn't care for the newest Metric album at first, but after enough listens I came to really like it. The new Jonathan Coulton album, pirated, and again donated directly to him to pay for it.

This system may not work for everybody, but it sure works for me. I can filter out the crap, and pay directly to the artists I love (usually bypassing a huge cut taken from the middle men).

So if you have one take-away from this point, it should be to go listen to Imaginary Cities right away.


And also that the cost of piracy is really hard to quantify.

So you heard it online, and now you are sending us to a YouTube link with their music, but you had to pirate it to decide if you liked it?

Unless the rights holder him/herself uploaded the video, listening to it on YouTube is no less "piracy" than downloading it.

The band has uploaded a version to Youtube, but it's a "music video" version with a much slower intro, so I opted for the album version. Perhaps that was a mistake.

No, I loved this band immediately. Some music such as Metric's new album took me some time though. Maybe it's just conditioning but I now really enjoy both.

You already have it on your ipod (you downloaded before buying remember?)

Buying the CD is just of way of paying.

Unfortunately this kind of retrospective format shifting isn't legal in a bunch of jurisdictions.

In the UK one commits two separate acts of copyright infringement by purchasing a CD, ripping it to their computer, and then copying the files to a portable music player.

should be be paid for

Who decides that, and what gives it the moral authority to do so?

Ideally the people creating the content, but realistically the people distributing that content for the creators.

cstross makes good points about all the other people involved in publishing - especially editors. I'm not sure this argument is as strong for music, but maybe I'm wrong.

Since when did this became normal and accepted in society? Whats next, police pulling candy from babies? or are we just going straight back to whip and flails to handle the dark and evil crime called copyright infringement!

This is the definition of insanity. What is wrong with the people that was part of the chain of events that lead to taking a laptop from the hands of an 9 year old girl?

How do these NDAs work? Can they really demand that you pay them money and not tell anyone?

Seems pretty creepy.

They can demand anything they want. You don't have to give into demands.

For instance, I demand you give me some money.

Not exactly, a contract must bind both parties to do something. You cant have a contract which states "you give me money and you dont say anything about it." It must also bond the other side: "and in return I will not sue you for piracy committed on the date of..."

A contract is a list of demands (amongst other things). It can't be enforced until you agree to the contract. Until then it's just a demand.

You missed chacham's point. You are right that both parties have to agree to make a contract. But on top of that it's not a contract unless both sides get something out of the deal. If you sign a piece of paper to exchange $10 for nothing, it's not a contract.

You always have the right to refuse though and have the courts sort it out, should they choose to pursue a case.

The idea being that for "normal" people, doing anything through the civil justice system is far too expensive and time consuming than just paying out up front.

So the choice is simply: Pay X up front and promise not to tell anyone, then be left alone OR Don't pay, attempt to fight it in court (using lawyers/solicitors/barristers) and absorbing the cost of this upfront yourself, regardless of the outcome.

New start up idea; propose the same deal to everyone that is likely to not fight in court.

That's not new, that is the tort law industry.

If you or I tried to do this, we'd be sued into oblivion for blackmail because that's what this is, blackmail. Pay us money and we won't tell on you. This world is messed up.

I believe that this is a side effect of the corporatist political system we find ourselves in.


Some interesting quotes on the subject - http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/corporatism

There have been more egregious examples of this with regards to piracy of pornography.

A few of the accused tend to stand up (grandparents who don't even own a computer, etc.) but I bet most just pay up to avoid the embarrassment of being dragged through the courts accused of pirating some smut.

Courts are best as you can put in counter claims and with todays technlology we still don't have storage that ties up that data to a user that is as good as DNA and DNA is not perfect.

Counter sue, entrapment, backmail, bullying, cartell - just anything remotely tangable then chuck it at them back. There rules after all

Just as worrying is the level of IT the people who take the laptop and other IT equipment away actualy have.

They could image the laptop, but no they take it away, leave it in a pile for months and then return it knowing full well that any data is not biometricaly tagged with any individual and as such a good lawyer would stamp all over it. TCP/IP in effect could be deemed entrapment in how it works.

Sad thing is I have music CD's that now over 20-30 years old are rusting a bit and some are unplayable. I would not moraly have an issue of getting a replacement via the internet for the cost of my time and internet. Now I know it is wrong and I should not have to spend my time and internet obtaining what I already paid for and was misold as a undistructable media at the time, but I'm a fair chap. But those that enforce there copyrights are not fair.

I have a file on all my computers called do not open without prior permision, its a realy evil file with compression bomb embeded picture saying "piss off" after about 50+ layers. If somebody investigates my computers without my permission or following the instructions to use my computer then that person will waste alot of there time. OK I now need some illegal mp3's but nobody is perfect and with that this is yet another case of the system being highlighted for what it is, messed up and moraly wrong.

It's probably more the police mentality of "they're suspects, they must be guilty, we know if we can't prove it in court they'll get off, so let's do everything in our power to make their lives as crappy as possible."

Including tying up stuff they know the family needs as "evidence" as long as they think can get away with, returning it in as poor a state as they think they can get away with...and the guy's already admitted EUR 600 will put him out of Christmas, they know there's no way he can afford to sue the police, all his money will be spent on his legal troubles with the MAFIAA...

Yes because if they imaged the laptop that would make it all better.

9 year old girl downloading music -> payup and shutup or be taken away. Is the Mafia minus the class. It's damn scary.

I couldn't find a youtube clip of Christian Rock Hard by South Park http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3dHKtpxyfw&feature=relat...

I'm not going to lie, this might be the best headline ever.

I hope it's not too off-topic to say that I thought someone sent a TheOnion article to HN.

It made me wonder if there were any theonion articles on hn. It turns out, there were a couple of them that even received comments and upvotes, but not much for the last 3 years. My guess is that submissions from theonion are auto-banned.

[1] http://www.hnsearch.com/search#request/submissions&q=the...

That is kinda sad, actually. Many articles on The Onion are more intellectually stimulating than stuff on HN front page.

I think that's my issue with the entire story. It's over-sensationalist.

Of course, I have to believe that, or risk losing faith in humanity altogether.

At least TF coverage seems to be fairly faithful to original information spread over Facebook in Finnish. Of course it's harder to know for sure what the actual facts are behind this.

I thought the same thing. Although it is unsettling to see how copyright infringement is turning into witch hunts this was still probably the funniest thing I've read all day.

This is insane! Using the "law" to get to this unprecedented levels of harassment against KIDS! I mean, for fuck's sake: THINK OF THE KIDS!

I honestly want to see more and more of this, there's an already growing wave of anti-MAFIAA and this kind of abuses will only make it bigger and meaner. The bubble will burst at some point and it won't be pleasant.

I imagine the death throes of this dying industry are going to get worse before it gets better.

Yes but persecution of children is usually a good turning point where people start caring about the politics.

According to my father, hardly anyone gave a shit about the stasi in east Germany until they started breaking families up. I imagine the same is true here, although I do worry about the corporate control of media world-wide and its ability to be paid to shill and keep quiet.

Yes, it's always seemed odd to me, from a moral point of view, that it's perfectly fine for them to copy music easily (and hence make huge profits) but it's not ok for us to copy music.

If you look at the history of the music business, musicians used to not make very much money and only got paid for gigs. If you were good you could ask for more from your punters per gig, and if you were REALLY good you could hold concerts and get paid much more. Seems we should go back to that model - musicians and the music industry get rewarded far beyond what they're worth in my opinion.

That is still how it is for nearly all musicians. Even a platinum record will not make as much money as the accompanying tour for many bands.

Yes, the problem is not the musicians per-se, it's the music industry that surrounds them. They make a fortune copying and selling music, and get all upset about it when other people want to copy music.

I know there's a lot of effort that goes into creating and producing an album, but that's a pittance compared to how much an album will make. And it's not like they lose money investing in lots of different bands and only a few are successful - if they're not 100% sure the album will sell (say it's a new artist) then they only lend the money to the artists. It's a loan that carries interest and has to be paid back.

What's amazing to me that in the past 10 years, so much has changed with regard to the music industry (streaming radio, MP3s becoming ubiquitous at mainstream e-commerce sites, everyone with a music player/smartphone in their pocket, etc.) and yet how little has changed (lawsuits, the laws themselves, and the general insanity around the topic.) A glimpse into these same conversations from the previous era:





I really don't like the sensationalist "pull at the heart strings", vibe in this title. I it feels a bit misleading and over-dramatized just to cause controversy. I get what they're trying to say, I but there has to be a better way to say it.

I'm pretty sure the headline is intended to be so over the top "pulling at the heart strings" as to be funny. Of course the fact that it's a cute girl's Winnie the Pooh laptop is irrelevant. I guess Torrentfreak expects their audience to understand that.

At least, they had me laughing out loud.

It's meant to mock the local RIAA and the copyright enforcement culture in general, and point at how ridiculous it has become. Maybe this way more people will hear about it, and then will start caring about it as well.

I wasn't sad, I was laughing! I mean, come on. Pirates cause organised crime to flourish and terrorists to be financed, right? What a dastedly 9 year old, with her Winnie the Pooh laptop!

Incidentally, I'm sort of interested where you can get a Winnie the Pooh laptop as I have a 5 year old daughter.


Try not to buy a pirated image.

Yikes, I wouldn't let a 9 year old go to the Pirate Bay on her own. Unless you're running adblock there are some pretty R-rated banner ads on TPB.

You really think you can choose which websites your own 9-year-old browses? Really?

Eh, if they don't know what that stuff means, no harm done, and if they already know, no harm done. -Fred Small

I've thought that in Finland the reason to get a search warrant needs that the minimum punishment for the crime is 6mo in jail. When did the punishment for copyright infringement went from fines to jailtime :O Or am I missing here something..

When they last revised the criminal law wrt copyright. It's actually a triply evil twist. First (1) new law says that only for the criminal form can you get jail time, and you need to be making a profit to turn it from a minor offense to a crime. Then (2) they the added in the last paragraph of the relevant section that if a computer network is involved and there's "significant damage" to the rightholder, it's also the criminal form. And then (3) the courts made it the sentencing practice that it's "significant damage" even in cases like this.

link (finnish):http://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/1889/18890039001#e-53 chapter 49 last paragraph

The trouble with running an indie label is that you rely heavily on grant money (usually through the government). The major labels are the only ones who can execute non-organic marketing strategies (billboards, commercials etc).

Even the deals that people are signing these days aren't in their best interest. Often a band will sign only to never have anything released by the label. The kicker is that the label still owns anything that band (even as individuals) make for a period of time. You're essentially treated like a movie script.

This is pretty disturbing given that she only downloaded one album a year ago (or at least thats all they seem to be pinning on this family).

What I have to say. Play your own music. Create it. Educate your kids how to drum, and what to do with the piano. Never sell your own music, let people listen. They'll be the most grateful.

Piracy law is getting absurd.

Imagine if this girl simply shoplifted the music, its entirely reasonable that if she was caught that shed get a slap on the wrist and if anything, no where near a 600 fine.

The original title was much better. Why was it changed?

Remind anyone else of Terry' Gilliam's Brazil?


I'm listening to the album in question now, the artist has definitely come out of it ok :)

I'm not listening to it right now. They are totally screwed.

if Anonymous want something useful to do they should start hounding these lawyers...

Where the hell is the world going?

That's some unfortunate grammar.

They should execute this filthy pirate. She is clearly single-handedly responsible for all poor music sales in at least the last 15 years.

Wait, no, this is utterly irrational and harms the MAFIAA's cause. I say bring on more lawsuits against neonates, foeti and octogenarians - they'll scupper their own cause pretty swiftly as they lampoon themselves.

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