Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Snarking back at a pirate


After two or more years, YAHOO finally, apparently, did the right thing and parted ways with
one of the worst alleged pirates on the internet.

These people make $0.03 (three cents) from every download that they can trick
booklovers, movie-lovers, music-lovers, magazine-lovers etc into illegally downloading. Also,
they tell their audience that they, too, can make money by sharing movies, e-books, music that
they do not own, and that they have downloaded illegally.

They do not tell those innocent persons that the pirates will receive approximately 20% of
the new members' commissions.

Nor do they tell their victims that by illegally downloading copyrighted material, the victims
in theory risk the possibility of prosecution, fines of up to $250,000 per file downloaded, and
up to 5 years in prison.

Okay. There's a slim chance that that would happen. Nevertheless, if you are going to "steal"
("stealing" isn't the legally correct term for infringing copyright) copyrighted material, you
ought to be given the opportunity to make an informed decision whether it is worth it.

The "Free Book Club" was a club that infringed copyright, and encouraged others to do so.
It infringed AMAZON's copyright, by snagging reviews, or substantial portions of AMAZON-owned
reviews from the pages of books that were being legally sold on AMAZON.

It infringed the publishers' copyright by posting copyrighted cover art.

It provided links to a file hosting site, so that members of their club could follow the links
and illegally download copyrighted works that had been illegally uploaded to that site in violation
of the hosting site's terms of use, and the copyright of the true copyright owners.

Make no mistake, just because one person has infringed copyright by uploading an in-copyright
e-book, movie, tune, magazine, etc to a file-hosting site, that does not make a "stolen" work
free and legal for everyone else to "steal".

The work is still under copyright. The right to copy it, and distribute it still belongs to
the author.

Subject: Book Club Newsletter (important, please read)
From: Club Admin

Dear Book Club Members
We have closed the FreeBookClub at Yahoo Groups.
This was due to an argument with Yahoo over our 'absolute' right to inform members of complimentary books etc., and even though we are not the hosts of these giveaways, we do not accept that we should told what we can or cannot say to our membership in an email newsletter. Yahoo has lost the plot!
We are currently looking for a more reliable mailing service, but in the meantime, if you would like to continue to recieve notifications about new giveaways, please join our Google Group, using the form below. Hopefully they better understand our legal rights of free speech!

Regards, Club Admin
The problem, I think, comes with these pirates' misunderstanding of what "free" and "complimentary"
and "giveaway" mean.

A book can be "complimentary" if it is given away by someone with the legal right to give it
away. In the case of most of the works these pirates shared, the copyright owner probably did
not voluntarily give it away. Is it logical that at the same time that "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"
and "The Social Network" are on pay-per-view on TV, or even still running in cinemas, is it
reasonable to believe that the film-makers want you to be able to get it free from FILESONIC?

Personally, I wonder about the "free speech" issue. It might be a matter covered by the truth
in advertising laws.

Is there a legal difference between something "stolen" and something "free"?

Where does solicitation to commit a crime begin?

1 comment:

Casey Sheridan said...

Kudos, Rowena. I know how hard you and others have been trying to get Yahoo to recognize these pirates for what they are and to shut them down.

I posted a link on my blog to your post.