Sunday, March 25, 2018

Piracy is not copying software

Words get reused from the past to describe a particular action,  event or description from the present, sometimes being grossly inaccurate.

In the legal sphere the term 'freeman' today does not have the same meaning as used in the days of the Magna Carta, where many people erroneously try to shove that word into today's legal jargon.

The term piracy was used to describe an action involving people sailing on ships with the intent to commit criminal activity, specifically; stealing other people's possessions, murdering and kidnapping.

Piracy is illegal in Australia, as described in a law from Queensland from 1899, under the Criminal Code 1899, from Section 79;

act of piracy
(1) A person does an
"act of piracy" if the person, in relation to a ship travelling at sea, unlawfully—

In Victoria a law called the Crimes Act from 1958 under Section 70A describes piracy as;

Piracy with violence Any person who with intent to commit or at the time of or immediately before or immediately after committing the offence of piracy in respect of any vessel—

(illustration of a 'pirate' from the 18th century)

On the 28th day of April 1770, James Cook landed on the southern shore of today's suburb Kurnell in Botany Bay together with Joseph Banks and Dr. Daniel Solander.

Together they took 'possession' in the name of the crown under King George the Third of a land that already had inhabitants on it, without any 'compensation' or treaty with those people, an act of 'piracy'.

Conversely the indigenous people of New Zealand had a treaty with the crown of England irrespective of reports of how dodgy it may been written.

Today similarly the inhabitants of Australia are being shafted by the people in power with regards to the modern take on the word piracy.

Laws created in Australia are for the financial benefit and prosperity of corporations at the expense of the general population.

Ever since the commercialisation of the government resource called the Internet the actions of corporations have worked against the people in a fascist like manner.

This has been supported by disclosure of top secret government documentation by Edward Snowden.

The modern meaning of pirate equates to a person copying software illegally implying treacherous, murderous connotations with the word of yesteryear.

For Australians the terms legally / illegally and lawfully / unlawfully are under scrutiny where this is another convoluted topic not within the scope of this post.

Since Australians are being limited to what websites they can access by corporations, therefore Australia is a country where the government bans its people from accessing certain websites, you know like a mini China, i.e. state controlled access.

The whole 'piracy' issue is led by corporations such as the United States' MPAA, where apparently Australians are criminals for viewing content on websites.

Very briefly:

In order for Australians to omit the above discriminatory message, one must change the DNS addresses to overseas servers and not Australian based ones.

To do this on computers running Microsoft's spyware called the 'Windows' operating system, inside the Network Properties of the Internet connection, there is a tab called Networking, where the last selection is Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4).

The properties within, can be changed to the DNS values of the illustration below:

With regards to the erroneous description of the word pirate, here's where the fun begins:

The text from the above site is as follows:

Leading up to the trial, Hotfile has scored several significant wins against the MPAA. The Florida federal court ruled on several motions this week, and many went in favor of the file-hosting service. 

Most prominently, Judge Kathleen Williams decided that the movie studios and its witnesses are not allowed to use “pejorative” terms including “piracy,” “theft” and “stealing” during the upcoming proceedings.

piracy-crimeThe ongoing legal battle between Hotfile and the MPAA is nearing its climax.

In August the movie studios won summary judgment on the issues of DMCA defense and vicarious liability, while the file-hosting site was cleared of direct copyright infringement. The remaining issues, including the damages amount, will be decided during a trial early next month.

In preparation for the trial both parties have submitted motions to the court in recent weeks. Hotfile, for example, asked the court to prevent the MPAA from using “pejorative” terms including piracy, theft and stealing as these could misguide the jury.

District Court Judge Kathleen Williams has now ruled on these motions, with the file-hosting service scoring several important victories.

The Judge granted Hotfile’s “pejorative” terms motion, which means that the movie studios and its witnesses are not allowed to use words including “piracy,” “theft” and “stealing” during the trial.

“Defendants’ Motion in Limine to Preclude Use of Pejorative Terms is GRANTED IN PART. The parties may not use pejorative terms but may use terms of art,” the order reads.

The file-hosting service previously argued that since piracy and theft-related terms are derogatory, their use could mislead the jury and possibly influence their judgment. According to Hotfile there is no ground to substantiate the use of such terms.

“In the present case, there is no evidence that the Defendants (or Hotfile’s founders) are ‘pirates’ or ‘thieves,’ nor is there evidence that they were ‘stealing’ or engaged in ‘piracy’ or ‘theft.’ Even if the Defendants had been found to have directly infringed on the Plaintiffs’ copyrights, such derogatory terms would add nothing to the Plaintiffs’ case, but would serve to improperly inflame the jury.”

The MPAA countered that there is absolutely no reason to exclude words that are commonly used in cases related to copyright infringement. Banning the terms would make it hard for MPAA’s lawyers and the witnesses to describe the events that took place, according to the movie studios.

“Terms like ‘piracy’ and ‘theft’ are commonplace terms often used in court decisions, statutes, and everyday speech to describe the conduct in which Hotfile and its users engaged, and for which the Court has already found Defendants liable,” MPAA’s legal team wrote.

With her ruling Judge Williams clearly sides with Hotfile’s argument that the jury could be misled by piracy and theft-related descriptions. This is a clear win for the file-hosting service, but it also leads to the awkward situation that several witnesses can’t name their job titles, such as Warner’s head of Global Corporate Anti-Piracy.

Additionally, the MPAA can no longer quote Vice President Joe Biden’s famous comment: “Piracy is theft, clean and simple.”

The full list of motions Judge Williams ruled on includes more good news for Hotfile. For example, with regard to Hotfile’s countersuit over alleged DMCA abuse by the movie studio, Warner’s motions to exclude the term “perjury” and the studio’s audit of its anti-piracy system from trial were both denied.

On the downside, Hotfile’s request to prevent the MPAA from bringing up the criminal indictment against “Megaupload” was denied. This means that in describing the Megaupload case the movie studios can’t quote passages that reference piracy or theft.

It will be interesting to see how the MPAA tackles Hotfile now that they are restricted in the language they can use. It probably means that the term “copyright infringement” will be used more often than they had hoped.

To be continued.

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