Posts Tagged Copyright

PirateBay Owners Conviction – where does that leave Google?

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After last weeks decision by a Swedish court to find the owners of the much loved PirateBay guilty of copyright breaches, it leaves the question as to how Google have yet to be punished. PirateBay owners, Peter Sunde, Carl Lundström, Frederik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg were found guilty of being accessories to the breach of copyright laws.

But what still ceases to amaze me is the fact that the music and film industry has yet to take on the big boys who it can be argued do the exact same thing with their search engine. Is it because they are afraid that Google just have too much money and could easily fight them off in court? Or is it because they simply didn’t know how easy it was to do in Google?

In a discussion on Twitter last week, someone mentioned to me that Google do not do the same thing as PirateBay did, because they don’t host the torrent files. For those of you that don’t understand what a torrent file is, let me explain a little in basic terms.

A torrent file holds the tracker location and the file ID of the file being shared. In simple terms, it tells you the location of the copyrighted file (although not only copyrighted files). So by PirateBay storing thousands of these files on their server, they were found guilty of being accessories to the breach of copyright law, because these files contained links to the locations of the files. Ok, I know that opens up another can of worms. But let’s not go there right now.

Let’s look at how easy it is to use Google as a torrent file locator. I’ll take an obscure band, that I enjoy listening to regularly, that much of you will never have heard of. A band called Disturbed… Yeah I know… weird, but they’re good!

Now just to prove that even the most unpopular copyrighted material can be found using Google.

Type the following search string and into Google and hit search (or if you are really lazy, let me google that for you by clicking here):
intitle:”index of” +(.mp3|.wma) “disturbed”

Instantly you’ll see over over 18,000 pages all with links to tracks from this great band. Granted, the top few results have been manipulated by search engine spammers and SEO experts (so please be careful with some of those links), but even the 3rd or 4th result will give you genuine links to music that you can download and save to your computer.

Let’s go one step further again though – let’s wander over to google’s research and development department and download their Google Hacks tool. Yes, you read it right “Google Hacks Tool”… say no more… http://code.google.com/p/googlehacks/

Google Hacks ToolWhen you’ve downloaded and installed this little tool, crank it up to see what options you have available to you. Here’s a screenie:

So what can you do with this wonderful tool? Well you can select if you are looking for music, video, book or even a torrent!

Depending on which option you choose, it will also suggest popular file types of those copyrighted materials.

Ok, so I can understand someones argument that Google isn’t the accessory in all this as it just points to the content, but you have to look for it first…

But they happily release tools like this “for education purposes”, with a little disclaimer “Please do not use this program for illegal uses”. They go on to say, “I’m hoping by releasing this program is that it will help crack down on illegal and illegally distributed copyrighted material”.

That’s a little ironic isn’t it?

In my mind Google do everything that PirateBay do. Right, they may not host the files – but they are accessories to the breach of copyright, by linking to sites with files that are accessories to the breach of copyright surely??

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Internet in Ireland being censored? All ISPs threatened with legal action on music copyright

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Maybe not yet, but after reading this article in the Irish Times it appears that Eircom at least have agreed to block access to sites like PirateBay.org

In a legal letter sent to all Irish ISPs on behalf of EMI, it looks for a “graduated response” to the copyright infringement by the service providers.

So what does this mean for the future of Irish Internet users, an Internet with selected websites only?

If EMI can get such an agreement put in place with all the ISPs, it opens possible flood gates of other organisations who would like such sites banned. What next? No access to YouTube???

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