28 votes

US indictments and raids of piracy group members in "The Scene" throw top-tier piracy world into chaos

16 comments

  1. [11]
    CALICO
    Link
    I guess this is only tangentially related, but can anybody help me understand how digital piracy is theft, vice counterfeit or something along those lines? This is a real question. I know what...

    I guess this is only tangentially related, but can anybody help me understand how digital piracy is theft, vice counterfeit or something along those lines?

    This is a real question.

    I know what intellectual property is. But I don't understand how pirating it constitutes theft. Maybe I can't get over how the term in understood vis-a-vis physical property.

    Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night hangs in New York City's Museum of Modern Art. If I break into the Museum of Modern Art and remove the painting, I stole it. That's obvious, and it makes sense.

    If I happen to paint a perfect copy, an absolutely indistinguishable counterfeit... I stole it?
    But it's right there, hanging in the Museum. Nobody moved it. The Museum didn't lose possession. I don't see how that could be theft, and I can't see how this is any different from digital piracy.


    he is alleged to have caused “tens of millions of dollars” in losses to film production studios

    I don't understand how this can be true.

    I understand the concept of opportunity loss. What I don't understand is how it can be measured, and how this measurement can mean anything:

    Deep Blue Sea 3 was released on blu-ray this week. I can buy it on Amazon for $14.96 USD. If I download DBS3, does Rosebrook Films lose fifteen bucks? How many times do I have to download it to bankrupt the production company.
    I can download it from my tracker for 22.9 GB. If I had 2.7 exabytes of storage, could I wipe out their distributors—Warner Bros—annual operating income? Will I be prosecuted for billions in losses?

    Let's say I'm living in a region where there are no legal means to purchase a disc of DBS3. Am I causing anyone to lose money? With no options open to me to pay money for it, what's the opportunity loss for something in which there was no opportunity?


    Fuck me, I can't wrap my brain around this.

    22 votes
    1. Thra11
      Link Parent
      It's not true, but it benefits them to say it, and because they have a lot of money to throw at the legal system, what they say generally goes. Essentially, they're looking at how many people will...

      he is alleged to have caused “tens of millions of dollars” in losses to film production studios

      I don't understand how this can be true.

      It's not true, but it benefits them to say it, and because they have a lot of money to throw at the legal system, what they say generally goes.

      Essentially, they're looking at how many people will accept free cake, and assuming/pretending that the same number of people would each pay £10 for cake.

      30 votes
    2. babypuncher
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      It is not theft, it is copyright infringement, which some people view as adjacent to theft. The loss estimates are grossly inflated, but I do not think i tis right to assume that piracy incurs no...

      It is not theft, it is copyright infringement, which some people view as adjacent to theft.

      The loss estimates are grossly inflated, but I do not think i tis right to assume that piracy incurs no losses for the studios. There are lots of people who pirate content purely because it is free and would otherwise pay for it.

      I have mixed feelings on the matter. On one hand, I believe piracy is necessary to drive innovation in the entertainment industry, and preserve old content that is otherwise not readily available. On the other, I believe artists (and the companies that bankroll their work) should be compensated for their products. I find the argument that piracy hurts nobody asinine, because if everybody pirated everything, the entire industry would vanish overnight, lots of people would be out of jobs, and the amount of new content being produced would slow to a trickle.

      17 votes
    3. moonbathers
      Link Parent
      I remember two cases from about a decade ago where a college kid was sued for $675k and a woman was sued for $2 million. Tenenbaum ended up owing $675,000 and filed for bankruptcy in 2015, and...

      If I had 2.7 exabytes of storage, could I wipe out their distributors—Warner Bros—annual operating income? Will I be prosecuted for billions in losses?

      I remember two cases from about a decade ago where a college kid was sued for $675k and a woman was sued for $2 million. Tenenbaum ended up owing $675,000 and filed for bankruptcy in 2015, and Thomas-Rasset declared bankruptcy in 2013, owing $222,000.

      The RIAA also suggested in its lawsuit with Limewire that every download be subject to damages which under law could have resulted in maximum damages of $150,000 per download, or a maximum of $75 trillion, which is more money than existed in the entire world at the time. They ended up settling for $105 million.

      11 votes
    4. [4]
      thistle
      Link Parent
      I agree that calling it theft is strange, and even stranger is assigning a value to it - there's absolutely no way they could get a reliable figure, because it relies on hypothetical situations:...

      I agree that calling it theft is strange, and even stranger is assigning a value to it - there's absolutely no way they could get a reliable figure, because it relies on hypothetical situations: if person X was going to buy the movie but instead downloaded a pirated copy, that effectively constitutes the 'loss' of the price of once copy of the movie. Of course, there's no way of knowing whether person X was going to buy the movie, so you can't measure the loss.

      It's not theft exactly, no, but it still incurs a real, if unmeasurable, damage to the party who created the movie, so why shouldn't it be a criminal offence? And since we can't really call it theft, how about we call it by what it really is, 'piracy'?

      Oh yeah, and proposing that torrenting it multiple times will cause the loss of multiples of the price of the movie is just silly.

      9 votes
      1. [3]
        babypuncher
        Link Parent
        The problem is, there is some value to it, even if we can't realistically quantify it. So how should the legal system handle this?

        The problem is, there is some value to it, even if we can't realistically quantify it. So how should the legal system handle this?

        6 votes
        1. [2]
          thistle
          Link Parent
          We can't quantify the losses incurred by murder, by child abuse, by drunk driving, etc. The legal system should handle this in the same way that all crimes are handled, by a proportional and...

          We can't quantify the losses incurred by murder, by child abuse, by drunk driving, etc.

          The legal system should handle this in the same way that all crimes are handled, by a proportional and reasonable punishment.

          13 votes
          1. teaearlgraycold
            Link Parent
            If we determine an act to be wrong, the ideal punishment is just harsh enough to discourage the criminal from doing it again. Or in some cases, just enough rehabilitation to achieve the same effect.

            If we determine an act to be wrong, the ideal punishment is just harsh enough to discourage the criminal from doing it again. Or in some cases, just enough rehabilitation to achieve the same effect.

            1 vote
    5. [2]
      Hidegger
      Link Parent
      I think the bigger issue for claimed monetary losses is that these people were releasing before official release dates. It would be more like you distributing your perfect copy of Van Gogh before...

      I think the bigger issue for claimed monetary losses is that these people were releasing before official release dates. It would be more like you distributing your perfect copy of Van Gogh before the museum that features it had a chance to have a grand opening, which might be considered the largest intake of funds that any art is going to receive. Even this is kind of a poor analogy, since it is actually the second grand opening, theater being the first and physical copies being the second.

      As someone who pirates, rarely have I not gone to see something I really wanted to see in a theater because of piracy being available. In fact, I would argue that piracy has kept me closer to new movie releases and I have gone to more theatrical debuts since I started pirating. Same with pirating music, I don't go see too many bands I've never heard of before, but now that I've pirated and enjoyed the music I know to look for those bands if they are touring.

      7 votes
      1. moonbathers
        Link Parent
        Youtube being more lax about music being posted, along with all the streaming services existing, has also made the need to pirate music at least go way down, although I'm guilty of still...

        Youtube being more lax about music being posted, along with all the streaming services existing, has also made the need to pirate music at least go way down, although I'm guilty of still downloading bonus tracks from other versions of albums I own.

        3 votes
    6. moocow1452
      Link Parent
      You're not purchasing a movie, you are purchasing access to it. If you sneak into a museum after-hours with your buds, that's a violation of agreement with the museum and they can boot you out and...

      You're not purchasing a movie, you are purchasing access to it. If you sneak into a museum after-hours with your buds, that's a violation of agreement with the museum and they can boot you out and ban your ass. Movie studios make the argument that you letting people in to see the movie after-hours devalues the "art" they put money into, and have a lot of money to throw around, so they can really nail you to the wall.

      1 vote
  2. vord
    Link
    RIP. They will be missed. More victims in the artificial scarcity war.

    RIP. They will be missed. More victims in the artificial scarcity war.

    18 votes
  3. [2]
    MimicSquid
    Link
    Man, that's a wild story. They should make a movie about it to recoup their losses.

    Man, that's a wild story. They should make a movie about it to recoup their losses.

    11 votes
    1. ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      Do you imagine it being widely pirated, in a continental case of irony?

      Do you imagine it being widely pirated, in a continental case of irony?

      6 votes
  4. Deimos
    Link
    TorrentFreak has made a few follow-up posts about this, including one today that looks at how much releases have dropped off: August 27 - SPARKS Piracy Busts: Facts, Rumors & Fear Point to...

    TorrentFreak has made a few follow-up posts about this, including one today that looks at how much releases have dropped off:

    3 votes