The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'piracy'
Via Bruce Sterling, some background on the rise of Somali maritime piracy, which is threatening to strangle trade through the Suez Canal (and is reaching out to the route around the Cape of Good Hope):
Some analysts write fearful tracts that the pirates have links with terrorists and extremists, that the chaos is a direct result of international neglect of Somalia, and try to link pirates to the islamist insurgency that control much of the south or the recent terrorist bombings in Somaliland. This is nonsense. The origins of Somali piracy are not found in the southern half of the country, where a “transitional government” is dueling the Union of Islamic Courts with the half-hearted assistance of the Ethiopian military. Somali piracy originates in Puntland, a self-declared autonomous region of Somalia at the horn, hailed for years by policymakers as a model of a stable Somali state.
Piracy has its origins in the organized communities of the Puntland coast. In the 1990s, a group of fisherman in settlements there banded together to prevent illegal fishing and the dumping of toxic waste off their shores. This harmless community action inspired many analysts to designate Puntland a model for Somali civil society. When some ships illegally fishing were boarded in attempts to police the region, the reward offered for the boats return was enormous—amounts that were many times the monthly income of entire villages. Piracy took off as an attempt to gain income from this type of civic policing, and slowly grew to what Kaplan called the “innocence” of piracy. It wasn’t long before the pirates became more ambitious, using the fishing boats they captured to hunt larger prey. And with the money that came in, small fishing towns were transformed into pirate havens. As responsible organizers, pirates have invested some of their profits back into the franchise, replacing barely seaworthy rafts with speedboats, AK-47s with modern arms, and GPS tracking systems to boot.
Analysts were right about Puntland’s organization, but they were wrong that Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, president of the transitional government and the former leader of Puntland, could spread the discipline of goverment and organization to elsewhere in Somalia. Instead, it’s become the parent of a business model that could be copied in other lawless regions of the world.
The Guardian debunks the movie industry's claims that DVD counterfeiting funds al-Qaeda and other terrorists groups:
A couple of years ago, the Bush administration launched a major anti-drugs television campaign. It showed teenagers "confessing" to having killed a judge or a police officer because they had used drugs, and it said that drugs funded terrorism. Even if you were just having a joint in your back yard, the ad said, you could be helping terrorists. This was nonsense. The main profiteers from drugs in the US are American citizens who, if they are smart, vote Republican to ensure that the value of their product remains artificially high.
The chief backer of the September 11 attacks made his millions from his family's construction business. So should we stop all house-building now? By telling us that we are fighting terrorism by boycotting pirated DVDs, the industry is patronising us and misleading us. Our message should be: don't buy counterfeit and alarmist propaganda from these people.
Remember kids: every time you play an MP3, Osama bin Laden gets 50c to kill Americans with. Just say no.
(More indirectly, though, one could possibly make a terrorism case against those who provide copyright-enforcement-circumvention tools and file-sharing software, on the grounds that they are attacking the infrastructure of the US economy on which millions of lives ultimately depend. It's like that Bruce Sterling story in which a belligerent China bankrupts the US by setting up big fileservers hosting copies of Microsoft Office and the latest Hollywood blockbusters, free for the downloading.)
The credits on dodgy Chinese DVDs (the ones found at computer swap meets) are very informative. Until today, I didn't know that Kill Bill was based on a book by Bryce Courtenay.
The latest cult sensation from the Russian pirate DVD underground is Dmitri "the Goblin" Puchkov, a former cop who has gotten into satirically redubbing Hollywood films with "improved" dialogue. Puchkov's version of Lord of the Rings, for example, has become a Russian crime thriller, with the good guys as bumbling cops and the Orcs as mafiosi:
Frodo Baggins is renamed Frodo Sumkin (a derivative from the Russian word sumka, or bag). The Ranger, Aragorn, is called Agronom (Russian for farm worker). Legolas is renamed Logovaz, after a Russian car company famed for its Ladas. Boromir becomes Baralgin, after a Russian type of paracetemol. Gandalf spends much of the film trying to impress others with his in-depth knowledge of Karl Marx, and Frodo is cursed with the filthy tongue of a Russian criminal.
(via bOING bOING)
Tim O'Reilly (of the books with animals on their covers fame) has an essay on file sharing, piracy and copy-denial technologies; in it he argues that piracy is progressive taxation, taking from established producers and giving (distribution, recognition, etc.) to the up-and-coming. (Via Slashdot, to whose readers the article was undoubtedly crafted to appeal, right down to the Star Wars reference at the end.)
A propagandistic News Corp. article about the evils of coin-operated CD duplicators, how they threaten to kill musical artists, and how outrageous it is that they're perfectly legal, as a result of our inadequately lax copyright laws. (Keep in mind that News Corp., along with Disney, is one of the major advocates of legally mandating copy-protection in all electronic devices in the US.)
NEW machines installed in Adelaide convenience stores make the illegal copying of the latest CDs and computer software - which costs artists and software designers millions of dollars - as easy as buying a loaf of bread.
It also makes legal copying of CDs you already own, for backups or use in the car, for example, or of your band's demos, or whatever, easy. But we all know that consumers have no legitimate reason to copy CDs.
The machines are able to operate under the same legislation as public photocopiers, where the burden of responsibility for copyright breaches lies with the user and not the owner of the equipment.
How much do you want to bet that there'll be legislation in parliament to remedy this promptly?
The Internet piracy crime wave spreads; first it was the Napster kiddies swapping Britney Spears/Eminem singles, and the latest menace to our way of life is grandmothers swapping sewing patterns online:
``They're housewives, and they're hackers,'' Hedgepath said. ``I don't care if they have kids. I don't care that they are grandmothers. They're bootlegging us out of business.''