Ooh! I’m being pirated!

JasonW informs me that Coffin Dodgers is actually being pirated (as opposed to being listed on sites that don’t actually have it). It’s here if you’re interested, although the download links try to get you to sign up for things you don’t need and install things you don’t want.

The book is also available legally on Amazon, of course. Only 99p!

Changes to UK copyright law are coming – and they’re good

Some rare common sense:

Changes to create greater freedom to use copyright works such as computer games, paintings, photographs, films, books, and music, while protecting the interests of authors and right owners, were announced today by Business Secretary Vince Cable. These form part of the Government’s response to creating a modern, robust and flexible copyright framework.

New measures include provisions to allow copying of works for individuals’ own personal use, parody and for the purposes of quotation. They allow people to use copyright works for a variety of valuable purposes without permission from the copyright owners. They will also bring up to date existing exceptions for education, research and the preservation of materials.

Given the lobbying that’s been going on over this, it’s a pleasant surprise to see that the private copying bits haven’t been torpedoed.

Blocking The Pirate Bay. That worked well, didn’t it?

Yesterday afternoon: Virgin Media and other UK ISPs begin to implement the court-ordered block on The Pirate Bay.

Yesterday evening: various sites publish in-depth guides on how to evade the court-ordered block on The Pirate Bay. In some cases, evading is simply a matter of clicking a single hyperlink.

It’s an old comparison, I know, but the copyright wars are very similar to the drug wars. Nobody really believes the war can be won; the best the authorities can hope for is to make things a little bit more difficult for the users.

“I used to think that the answer to piracy was to jail all taxi drivers.”

Me, piracy, PC Plus:

When I was young, a truck full of chocolate bars lost its load a few streets from my house. By the time the police turned up – which was, annoyingly, long before I found out about it – the cargo had gone. People didn’t take the chocolate because they were forced to; they took it because, hey! Free chocolate! The rewards were so attractive and the risk of being caught was so remote that half the town went on a three-day Wispa binge.

On torrents

Andy Ihnatko has published a great post about piracy. He’s no fan of the studios, as he makes clear in his post, but the idea that everybody who pirates is a freedom fighter is risible. Here’s part of an imaginary conversation about torrenting Game of Thrones:

What’s wrong, Scrumpkin?

Oh. You want it right now.

But — umm — the release date is only, like, two or three weeks away. Just hang on a bit. You’ll be fine.

Yes, I heard you (please, sir, there’s really no need to shout). I understand that you want it (and I hope I’m not misquoting you) right the ****ity-**** NOWWWWWWWW. But you can’t have it now. You can have it on March 6. It isn’t even as far away as you think. Remember? February is the super-short month?


You’re already torrenting it, aren’t you?

Annnnd now you’re also calling me a d*** because I expected you to wait two weeks, and you’re claiming that you’re “forced” to torrent it because the video industry is bunch of turds.

I like Andy’s no-harm-done test – if you torrent it because you love it so much you can’t wait a single second longer to get it then you should buy it when it finally does come out; that way, there’s no harm done – but come on, if there’s an ideology behind piracy it’s usually “I want free stuff”.

The economics of piracy

This is fascinating: Internet Regulation & the Economics of Piracy

Suppose the CEO of Wal-Mart came to Congress demanding a $50 million program to deploy FBI agents to frisk suspicious-looking teens in towns near Wal-Marts. A lawmaker might, without for one instant doubting that shoplifiting is a bad thing, question whether this is really the optimal use of federal law enforcement resources. The CEO indignantly points out that shoplifting kills one million adorable towheaded orphans each year. The proof is right here in this study by the Wal-Mart Institute for Anti-Shoplifting Studies. The study sources this dramatic claim to a newspaper article, which quotes the CEO of Wal-Mart asserting (on the basis of private data you can’t see) that shoplifting kills hundreds of orphans annually. And as a footnote explains, it seemed prudent to round up to a million. I wish this were just a joke, but as readers of my previous post will recognize, that’s literally about the level of evidence we’re dealing with here.

Good copy, bad copy

I found Coffin Dodgers on a couple of pirate sites yesterday, and it really annoyed me. Assuming it’s actually there – there’s no guarantee that just because a free download site says it’s got a book that it actually has the book – it means I’ve fallen victim to the wrong kind of copying.

There are two kinds of copying. There’s good copying, and there’s bad copying.

(This is a long post, so I’ve split it so it doesn’t overpower the entire home page)

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The other side of SOPA and anti-piracy legislation

I like Michael Marshall, and his blog post about the other side of the piracy debate is worth your time. Not all anti-piracy sentiment comes from swivel-eyed loons or Disney.

The government is supposed to be on the side of laws, isn’t it? Copyright is a law too. If they don’t defend that law in the new kind of social space that the internet represents, where will the laxity end? What other laws will be let slide on the grounds that they might impede the rights of Internet users to do what the heck they feel like? What about your right to privacy? You care a lot about that one, don’t you? What makes it so desperately important for the government to defend your rights there, but not defend others’ rights to be paid for their intellectual property?