Pirate Bay: “ARR, mateys”

Published by • December 1st, 2007 RSS News Feed

The BBC interviewed the founders of the Pirate Bay, recently. The article: “Views from the Pirate Bay” discusses the difficulty that Swedish police have had dealing with the issue. It’s a political problem that has very difficult solutions and it closes with a fascinating political statement:

“Technology has changed. You can’t go back, there’s no way to go back. And I don’t think there’s a will to go back.”

This is an interesting commentary about the future of Technology. We’ve made so much noise over the issue of the RIAA hunting down college students or even trying to dig their claws into poor people who can’t afford to buy CD’s and end up pirating stuff. It doesn’t look like users are relenting on the issue either. A lot of lawsuits have given the ‘authorities’ the deterrent factor they need, but it isn’t working.

At some point, you just have to recognize that on principle, people don’t see the downloading of movies and songs online as a big deal anymore. You can try to make this stuff illegal, but where is the enforcement mechanism? Think about Marijuana, for an example of an illegal substance that is impossible to regulate. Most people who read about the subject, can agree that Marijuana use is no more dangerous than Alcohol. In fact, when it comes to encouraging accidents and resulting in deaths, alcohol is in a league of its own. What happens when you try to enforce laws that people find arbitrary, obnoxious, or overbearing? Well here’s a nice little photo that I found on Reddit that illustrates the problem:

From the Michael Salamon blog:Procedurally Enforcing Workflow

enforcing arbitrary rules of law and technology

A great reminder for the RIAA/MPAA: You can’t force people to follow directions they deem arbitrary. I bet if that gate spit out $100 bills people would use it! Schneier first published the photo on his Technology and Security blog.

There in lies the rub. In general, if you continue to enforce rules that are complete garbage, people are going to call you on it and your authority diminishes. This happens to governments, law enforcement officers, and it is most certainly the way of the Internet given that there is no way to regulate it through a single central authority. The United States can try and impose its views on the world, but try getting around the jurisdictional problem.

Here’s a hint: you can’t! Check out the latest tech article on the Crunch site, it reminds us all how easy it is to simply lift copyrighted content in the digital age of technology.  It’s very difficult to enforce: “Stealing books with Kindle is trivial

Itola Author

is an Attorney and Entrepreneur from the Silicon Valley.
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