Blessed are the Geeks, for they shall internet the earth

Stopping Media Piracy... the 'Null' War
by William Nett

Software, music, or video, people have been pirating programs and multimedia since it's inception. Whether it was back in the 80's with the use of programs like the Commodore 'Fast-Hackem' or someone holding a microphone up to their 9 volt FM receiver to record a song (or album) to cassette in the 70's. Once something is released in tangible or copy capable format, rest assured, "It will get copied." The recording industry, motion picture industry, and software makers all have to understand... the more expensive you make your products the less people are inclined to purchase them, and the more inclined people are to copy them. If I spend $18.00 on a $.50 music CD, you can bet I'm gonna copy it for my own archive purposes... "What if my CD gets scratched?" There is
a definite correlation between media prices and piracy. Piracy has been going on for more than three decades, and no one has yet to be successful in stopping it. 

Truth be it known however, people really do want to be honest. They want their official copy of their favorite movie, album, or software, and often take more pride in displaying their official covers and boxes rather than lowering their voices to admit that, "it's pirated." Media manufacturers claim that 'quality' and support is the number one reason to buy their product. I Ask you, how many people can actually hear the difference between FM and CD quality? Anyone ever gotten straight forward support from Microsoft? Some people are so eager to see a movie, that they're willing to watch a 'screener' (someone in a theater with a camcorder) copy of a movie rather than to pay the movie theatres 12 bucks for a ticket and a large popcorn. And software pirates? Considering the costs of software, the wages of IT personnel, with the comprehension of what their supervisors know, combined with the availability and price of blank CD's... well, it's just cheaper and easier to copy it with the 'no-CD' patches at work with a dumb burner. So we're back at the 80's. Media makers want to 'sniff' or 'peek' into users computers to find pirated media. Excuse me for being blatant, but that's a violation of 4th amendment "the bill of rights," How do they know if the media I have has been purchased? (They want the ability to look into my computer, but not my desk receipt drawer) They furthermore want to disable user's computers that have suspected pirated media... um' again a violation of my rights, "Maybe I want to make my media available to myself when at remote locations?" Legislation clearly states that any media I purchase is subject to being copied for my own archive purposes. Given that information, I can ask a co-worker to keep an offsite copy of my media in case of a disaster... all fortune 500 companies do this for disaster recovery. As long as a chain of custody is apparent with summarization of such custody. I am not responsible for what they do with my media so long as they are capable of making my media available to me in the event of a disaster. Does a Police Officer have the right to look into your house or car on a hunch or just because he's in the neighborhood? No... he/she needs a warrant, and to get that, they need probable cause. Probable cause is based upon information origin, situational variables, history, and reliability either from observances or supporting reports/facts. So, can piracy be stopped? The simple answer is NO. If it is enabled by software, it can be broken by software. Likewise, If I can hear or see it... I can copy it. I hoist no Jolly Roger, but think that companies that go as far as to disable computers based upon suspicion with the lack of proof is the equivalent of convicting someone before they are found guilty by a trial of their peers. To the best of my knowledge... the Constitution prohibits that.


A Career in Computers

The Information Technology Survival Guide -- Douglas Chick


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