Piracy and the RIAA and MPAA
When it all comes down to the brass tacks, what the RIAA and MPAA do, is really a moral question, is piracy right or wrong? I’m sure we’ve all seen the really gay commercial before a DVD or in the theaters that says something like , “Would you steal a car?” “Would you steal a DVD?” “Piracy is stealing”. That’s real great and all, trying to enforce it with harsh fines and penalties, but then again, you should know the actual law, not just what you read on the internet.
Last year in my old home, I had a knock on the door one nice afternoon, and this fat grizzly looking guy asks me is I am “XXXXXX” “XXXXX” , I say, “yes” and he hands me a thick yellow envelope. The fat guy waddles off and Im still standing there like …”uhhh what the f**k was that all about”. I open up the package to find out that my ISP had ratted me out. There was several big hitters on who was suing me, Microsoft, Virgin Records, just to name a few, and amazingly , there was this 13 or so page document with every single file I had downloaded within a certain time-frame….amazing I tell you!
The total amount of fines was somewhere in the astronomical level of 11 million dollars in fines, and up to 4 years in a federal prison. I placed a phone call to my trusty lawyer , who simply said, “Don’t worry, I promise you, don’t worry”. He has had extensive experience with this type of cases living in LA. Fine, nuff said, and I didn’t worry. Now several things popped into my mind at the time, first was, I remember back in the day, when there was only VHS tapes, and we (people like you and me) used to record TV shows to watch later, or copy a video that you liked onto another VHS, and shit, you could even RENT copied VHS from the local mom and pops VHS rental spots. Remember all the videos, even today still have that FBI warning , “250,000$ fine, and time in federal prison”? Well that warning is still there, and I can tell you, Iv’e never met someone or even heard a story about a federal inmate, “Hey man, Im in here for robbing a bank, shooting two cops and crossing state lines, what are you in here for?” … “Oh shit man, I copied Pee Wee hermans Big adventure, like 4 times and gave them to my niece and nephew, and their friends”….You know why you don’t hear that? Cause it really doesn’t happen. Sure if they raid your home, and you’ve got illegal substances, and your just an asshole, then yes, very well you may get time added on for copying DVDs, but otherwise, you’ll most likely get off with a night in a holding tank, and a slap on this wrist when it comes to court.
Back to my story, which needs some explanation on my end. How did my ISP catch it? Well at the time I was moving houses, and I had a low end PC configured as a type of router, the PC uses 4 ethernet cards, and with a certain linux distro, basically constantly switches through the cards, seamlessly switching from one MAC ID to the next, all behind a very nice firewall. Certain IP’s can be filtered out, with apps like Blacklist manager, which blocks known RIAA, and MPAA, addresses, as well as other foundations that track what your downloading. Anyways, when I was moving, the computer room was one of the last rooms to get moved, and about two weeks before the actual move, I figured it was safe to shut down my “brick firewall” as I like to call it, yet I left the server continuously downloading. Well since I was downloading an exstensive amount of data, I guess I was flagged by my ISP….hence the proceedings.
In December of last year (2005) I went to court, and instead of even using my lawyer, he advised me to take up a public defender, and instructed me what to do. I walked out of court, with $0 in fines, and not one night in jail…case dropped. I ended up paying about $300 for the public defender.
Now I can’t say everyone is going to have the same situation as I, but I can say, that I was one of those guys you would have read about on DIGG, or Slashdot, about a man getting arrested with a huge fine and what not, but you never really hear about what happened to em do you? Because the RIAA and MPAA WANTS you to hear about people getting arrested and fined (get scared….wooooOOOh, yet with a weak type of punishment there not going to broadcast that naturally. That was my experience, yours may be different.
Nowadays, I have so many colleagues, friends, and people I associate with that copy music, DVDs, games, and what not, I decided not to risk doing it myself, but that doesn’t slow me down at all. I only buy games that need a serial key to play online, and I rarely ever do play any games in their multiplayer mode. As a matter of fact, within the last year and a half, I can’t honestly say that I would have wanted to purchase any of the games that were pirated, they just sucked, I maybe played for an hour, and then uninstalled, due to lack of content, horrible gameplay, or repetitive gameplay, shit sometimes the sounds suck so bad, that it kills the entire game. As for movies, I have to agree with most of the comments seen on TPB. The guys/gals that are downloading movies on-line, are not the type of people that actually goto the movies, even if they were not available on-line, and actually paying for a movie that just sucks, well… feels…pretty shitty. If you were to go to a restaurant, and ordered a meal that tasted nasty, even if your half way through it, you would get your money back (taken off the order), simple and yet effective concept, do the same with movies. How about this, clean the goddamn nasty sticky floors in the theaters? Or set a designated theater for teens under a certain age, and play the same movie in a separate theater for adults. Take out the adds before a movie, its like freekin visual spam, I P-A-I-D , I don’t want to watch commercials, at all…ever. Anyone use XM or Sirius? Wasn’t there something like it a long time ago, with no commercials, and only music and talk-shows, but free? Oh yah the fucking radio! Only now we have to PAY to not have the commercials…gee, does anybody see how bad we get shafted? Back to the movies…My largest peeve, about the theater experience is that I have to find parking, which in Southern California, can take onwards up to 30 mins, and that usually means that your parking a ridiculous distance away. Get there earlier? An average wait for just a local restaurant takes about 3-4 hours on Fridays, and this time gets longer the closer you get to LA, movies get sold out hours before they show, online and at the booth.
So after experiencing that type of situation, when you can just ‘click’ and have it “delivered” to your home in a few hours, (not even like Netflix which takes 1-2 days), there is no better alternative. Now I’m sure the RIAA and MPAA, would like to say things like, “well the artists or actors are losing money”! Gee , please , I’m sorry, I’m not a great actor, I can’t sing worth shit, but I can see that it doesn’t require much physical labor, I served 3 years in the middle east when I was in the ARMY, I marched through the damn deserts with a 110 pound rucksack on my back, in temperatures over 120F, THAT’S hard labor, and guess what? I got paid shit, yet I loved , absolutely loved what I did! How about we treat artists, actors, musicians, shit even sports players like we treat the other 98% of America, you perform your job, IF, its a good job, THEN you get paid. I bet you Kobe would play twice as hard if he knew he doesn’t get payed unless he wins…
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