Google
 

Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 19th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2016 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

The law sells-out to big money

16 February 2012

Helicopters, armed police, asset seizures without proof of guilt and imprisonment before conviction without bail -- those are the seemingly unjust actions of the NZ government in respect to Kim Dotcom and his alleged copyright infringing activities.

Now you might think that's pretty severe but it's starting to look as if it's just the tip of a very nasty iceberg.

This morning we awoke to find that UK police are now engaging in similarly draconian actions in respect to copyright infringement.

Remember -- we're not talking about a violent assault. We're not talking about rape, murder or even armed robbery. We're talking about people moving bits and bytes of data around the Net using their computers, phones and tablets.

Yet, despite the relatively low (in most people's minds) severity of the crime, the actions and penalties being talked about are unbelievably severe.

In the case of the latest infringement policing in the UK, the RnBXclusive music sharing site has been shut down by police and an arrest made.

Fair enough you might think.

But wait... there's more...

Instead of charging the operator of the site with copyright offenses, the site's operator has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud.

WTF? Remember that the only reason the FBI was able to recruit the NZ police to act on their behalf when arresting Kim Dotcom and raiding his house was because they included racketeering and money-laundering charges amongst their allegations.

It seems that police and prosecutors are playing dirty, very dirty indeed.

It also leaves me wondering if there's any point in having copyright laws -- if prosecutions are going to be made on the grounds of far more serious offenses, even when the alleged offender has simply operated a file-sharing site.

Those who used the RnBXclusive website to swap files should also be worried.

It seems that a "scare campaign" is now being kicked-off, with a view to dissuading users from daring even visit such sites.

In respect to this case, the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has stated "those who downloaded them [music files] could face up to 10 years in jail and an unlimited fine".

Stop the bus!

Ten years jail and an unlimited fine -- for unlawfully downloading a copyrighted music file?

Compare this to the penalty for shoplifting a CD.

Compare this to the penalty for committing an armed robbery to steal a CD -- or indeed, an entire truck-load of CDs.

This is sheer and utter lunacy and must be stopped.

It is now patently obvious that the recording and movie industries are spending inordinate amounts of money to "buy" strategic power within the legal system.

Need more proof?

Well here's what SOCA said about the nature of the "crime" of filesharing:

"As a result of illegal downloads, young, emerging artists may have had their careers damaged. If you have illegally downloaded music, you will have damaged the future of the music industry."

If that isn't a line direct from the PR department of the music industry I don't know what is.

Now I'm dead against any form of copyright infringement -- but I'm even more against this blatant abuse of the legal system by a bunch of rich corporations with the money to buy whatever favours they desire.

When things get so bad that the penalties for simply downloading a file exceed those for committing a robbery, committing a violent assault or even committing manslaughter -- something is wrong, very, very wrong.

I also find it rather hypocritical that the recording industry are pleading for the rights of their members when we regularly see stories like this one in the media.

Let's be honest, the recording industry cares only about their own self-interest.

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say on this...

PERMALINK to this column

Oh, and don't forget today's sci/tech news headlines


Rank This Aardvark Page

 

Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines

 


Features:

Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam

 

The Missile Man The Missile Man book

Previous Columns

No Facebook, no entry into the USA?
There has been an increasing trend within the halls of power, to incorporate RFID or NFC technology into important documents such as passports and driver's licenses...

The end of ownership
When I was a young lad with long hair and pimples, I'd rush down to the local music shop on a Friday night with my hard-earned cash in-hand...

Are Apple fanbois smelling the coffee?
Apple has come out with some real kick-arse products over the years and the late Steve Jobs' ability to add style to geek was always the company's greatest strength...

Brexit (and normal service is resumed)
As those who have kept up with development in the relevant thread on the forums will already know, things are almost back to normal around here...

The Net-itinerant blogger
The past couple of weeks have been hell around here!...

Retail, done properly
A few weeks ago, the old sheila's Bluray/DVD player packed a sad and refused to play any disks....

Why I can't get my phone/Net connection moved
As regular readers will have already noticed, your daily dose of Aardvark has been missing for a week or so...

Psst... wanna buy a bridge?
If you're planning on using the Huntly bypass route it might pay to ensure that you've emptied the boot and glove-box of your car first...

Micro Bit trumps Raspberry Pi?
As far as single board computers (SBCs) go, the Raspberry Pi (RP) has to be perhaps the single most successful product ever sold...

The New Top Gear
Over four million Pommes and probably more than a handful of others around the world, sat down to watch the long-awaited new version of Top Gear...

If it ain't broke...
The world seemed to be absolutely shocked to learn that the USA's nuclear weapons arsenal is still under the control of a decades-old computer system which uses 8-inch floppy disk drives...