Questions about legal situations surrounding P2P
Q. Dela: Ok, well, predictably, ill first ask for your opinions on the RIAA's tactics on P2P?
Simon Moon: I don't really have contact with them, since SR's main page had no music. My personal take is, that its a waste of time and resources. Instead of fighting the users they should create a usable alternative. If a song bought online costs me as much as one on a CD, where i have a hardcopy, can replicate it 1000 times, convert it to any give format and also get a nice booklet with it, then something is wrong. DRM stands officially for Digital Rights Management. In My eyes it looks more like Digital Restriction Management. The consumer gets cornered and told what to do with what they paid for. If i would like to slit my car open and put a window in its roof i am sure no one from the car company is coming at my door with armed forces to arrest me for defacing their copyrighted product. If you paid for it, who are they to tell you what you can do with it? This counts for movies, games and also for consoles (topic modchips anyone?). If you break a law, the cops have to decide that, not the companies. Unfortunately the companies are trying to make the laws. Go figure what happens next...
Q. Dela: Yep, well that answer couldn't be elaborated any further. I'll move on to something closer to ShareReactor. ED2K links were essential to SR, but now it seems their legality is being challenged. This is strange to me as you could find search results to illegal content using Google but people don't complain about http. What you think about that?
Simon Moon: Now this is complicated. The links, as it seems, are legal but that even is not clear according to Swiss law. But that aside, it seems like they investigate a lot different things at once. There was something like they were expecting huge fileservers that push petabytes of illegal files in my basement but nope, not here. They were trying to put me on the chopping block for the pictures of movies. Unfortunately, those are from Amazon, and as an affiliate of Amazon, we have the right to use them. So the question is, if this is really about links. They try to get me on whatever they can find. Their problem on the other hand is, there is nothing substantial that they can attack.
Dela: You mean they actually went as low as to challenge the pictures of the movies? You got to be kidding right?
Simon Moon: I am not kidding. I am dead serious. Also keep in mind, i am OFFICALLY still innocent, and there is NO charge against me so far, all of this, the shutdown, the blocking of my account, the questioning, the house raid, all of it is STILL only an investigation. No charges have been made to this date, and we are getting close to seven months now.
Q. Dela: Ok, we'll get into SR investigations soon and how extremely strange they seem to be - But before the Investigations, I'm sure SR received legal threats on a regular basis?
Simon Moon: Between 1 - 3 a month.
Dela: Did you receive any from the same source on a regular basis?
Simon Moon: I heard only from two companies more than once. Everyone else i explained it. I especially love those DMCA notices, where i explain in easy and short words that Switzerland is NOT yet part of the United States.
Q. Dela: Yes i remember reading a very nice reply to a letter sent to thepiratebay.org, that one had me laughing. Well, from ShareReactor to ShareConnector, seems they have received threats from Dutch anti-piracy agency Brein. How do you feel a closure of ShareConnector would affect the eDonkey2000 network that is already crippled from the SR closure?
Simon Moon: It wouldn't be good, but it wouldn't stop the network. Even with SR closed, the ed2k network grows big time and ShareConnector has not even caught up with half of SR's user count yet. So the users are going somewhere else, split up over different pages or using the internal searches more. My take is, when SC gets shutdown, they will flock to somewhere else and new pages will popup as it always is. I personally got mails form at least 20 different people that wanted my support in starting a page "that is not SR but just like SR"
Q. Dela: It seems that way; it's like an unending legal battle over and over. ShareReactor became a target long before it was shut down, but not the actual site, its users. Many people started receiving warnings from their ISP's about their activity on the ed2k network. It all comes down to a question of Piracy over Privacy. What are your thoughts on these kinds of activities that anti-P2P organizations have decided to make?
Simon Moon: MPAA said it won't sue users, IFPI said it won't sue users and SAFE (the ones who started all this against me) said they won't sue users; all they do is try to scare the people. The effect is more counter productive than they can imagine in their wildest dreams.
Dela: John Kennedy is set to replace Jay Berman as head of the IFPI though, and he openly has stated he can't wait to begin suing British file-sharers. So it seems some things may change?
Simon Moon: Who are they kidding? They can't sue all the users. They can't stop it completely, most ISP's could close down in an instant, fast internet connections would become useless as no one would want them.
Q. Dela: Yes, things will probably get pretty ugly for a while. Anyway there is only one other entertainment industry tactic that Id like to mention, that is the deliberate poisoning of files on P2P networks. I don't see how this could have affected ShareReactor, as the eD2K links made sure the files were legit. But the actual tactic of poisoning files seems pretty low, and you would have to question its legality, would you agree?
Simon Moon: First, it drove ShareReactor's user base up, with the already mentioned consequences that's a good and a bad thing. Second, i have yet to see a P2P network without legal contents, so it should be an illegal act performed by the companies. They could cause harm to computers of innocent people. Is that collateral damage than? They could even be responsible for some of the bigger worms. Imagine those companies sending out garbage files, some of them infected with a virus. Not even a Stephen King book could be more horrifying than that scenario.
Dela: I have myself suspected that a lot of viruses on P2P were spread by the entertainment industry, I mean, where is the motivation for normal people to just start spreading viruses and disguising them as software or something, but with the way things are going, they seem to be getting away with everything, they'd probably get away with that too
Simon Moon: What you need is a skilled hacker, and then a wad of money with some nice people from the EFF. Regular people don't go against those companies, the mentioned group would.
Dela: Yes, the EFF are a good group of people, its also nice to see people donate to their cause, also yesterday it was nice to see such a rally of tech companies against the Induce Act in the U.S. , including CNet, Yahoo, Verizon Communications etc. so support is still around for P2P users at least.
Simon Moon: I agree fully
Written by: James Delahunty