FBI, RIAA boost content pirates with moves intended to punish them

FBI didn't steal MegaUpload content because the files weren't physical? Really?

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The copyright wars continue to produce surprising and contradictory results.

Prosecutors in New Zealand have argued that the FBI didn't steal evidence from New Zealand police by cloning the contents of seven hard drives owned by MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom because the files on them were not physical.

The argument won't have a direct impact on U.S. courts, but does show how difficult a time courts have making a direct connection between unsanctioned copying and actual theft.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) faces a similar threat of blowback from its efforts to get Google and Bing to block content pirates from their search results.

RIAA CEO Cary Sherman argued before Congress yesterday that the recording industry will suffer without more laws to protect their interests, despite studies showing music and video producers suffer less from content piracy than retailers do from shoplifting.

Google and Bing, which have not responded but show no signs of wanting to cooperate, should change their search criteria to push file lockers such as The Pirate Bay (TPB) and isoHunt far enough down in the results that users won't click on illegal file-sharing links.

"Whether a site is authorized or unauthorized to make copyrighted works available to the public should be a significant indicator in determining ranking of the result, with unauthorized sites having lower rankings than authorized sites," according to Sherman's written statement.

That would be just great, according to a responding post from The Pirate Bay, most notorious of the sites accused of content piracy, which praised the proposal as a way to differentiate TPB from other search engines.

"Right now about 10% of our traffic comes from these competiting search engines," according to a statement posted on The Pirate Bay (TPB). "With that ban in …users will go directly to us and use our search instead…It's really hard to compete with Google, but if they can't index media search engines like us, we'll be the dominant player in the end."

That's not likely to deter the RIAA's efforts to squelch searches for illegal downloads.

Accusations that it illegally exported the contents of seven hard drives owned by MegaUpload isn't likely to deter the FBI either, of course.

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