The fall of Megaupload--and by 'fall', I mean, a movie-quality raid and seizures and truly impressive use of rhetoric. Every article talks about his excess lifestyle and cars and money and helicopter and apparently rather disconcertingly wild parties where there was a.) women and b.) alcohol and possibly c.) killing puppies. I mean, I can't prove the last part, but I've only skimmed the first five pages of google news on megaupload conniptions.



Okay, I'm totally almost but not really overstating how many articles that are purportedly about the arrest spend many pixels gushing about the toys of millionaries, I assume for the dual purpose of discouraging sympathy and attempting to separate him from hacker culture and nail him directly into lifestyles of the evil and famous.

Okay, enough about that.

I've been thinking about it since [personal profile] svmadelyn sent me an email about it and I heartily wished I hadn't bought a six month account when they were on sale. I'm assuming I am not getting that money back, though I don't see why; the feds and media are really emphasizing there's lots of money there. Plus, Child is trying to learn to be a hacker now for greater justice or something in between mourning the horror of life lived without megaupload and seriously, so you see why I am really unamused by this; he can't program. He can't even unblock the router when I get bored and lock out his IP address in fits of quasi-maternal discipline (I mean, it's deserved and everything, but I think punishment should be fun for someone, so might as well be me).

I am unamused, Feds. I am so not in the mood to deal with this. He's getting taller, and I mean, I could take him, but I'm kind of lazy, so come on.

This article kind of nails down my thoughts on this, which are not new: Piracy is part of the digital ecosystem, which has some illustrative pie charts for people who like that sort of thing, which is most people because the math is kind of fascinating.

Here's the text before the pie charts:
More broadly, how large is piracy today? At the last Consumer Electronic Show, the British market intelligence firm Envisional presented its remarkable State of Digital Piracy Study (PDF here). Here are some highlights:
• Pirated contents accounts for 24% of the worldwide internet bandwidth consumption.
• The biggest chunk is carried by bittorrent (the protocol used for file sharing); it weighs about 40% of the illegitimate content in Europe and 20% in the US (including downstream and upstream). Worldwide, bittorrent gets 250 million UVs per month.
• The second tier is made by the so-called cyberlockers (5% of the global bandwidth), among them the infamous Megaupload, raided a few days ago by the FBI and the New Zealand police. On the 500 million uniques visitors per month to cyberlockers, Megaupload drained 93 million UVs. (To put things in perspective, the entire US newspaper industry gets about 110 million UVs per month). The Cyberlockers segment has twice the users but consumes eight times less bandwidth than bittorrent simply because files are much bigger on the peer-to-peer system.
• The third significant segment in piracy is illegal video streaming (1.4% of the global bandwidth.)


Again, math. Five percent of global piracy bandwidth goes to the cyberlockers.

Also mentioned is the regionalization of the global market, which I'm still not sure of the reasoning behind, because it's kind of a guaranteed way to encourage illegal downloading and, as usual, the entire 'we are all hypocrites of downloading and not really sorry about it' which admittedly is true, but also beside the point.

Massive shutdown of other locker sites (my child is going to join Anonymous and I am going to be bailing him out of jail and posting from the police station, I can feel it) including a lot of ones I've used, others are locking down their users to their own uploads (yeah, that'll work), others are

Also, Anonymous attacked like whoa, MegaUpload Take Down Affecting Other File Lockers and is also threatening X-Box (my Child is going to be on the FBI wanted list if this affects gaming, Christ).

While mourning my lost account (and hiding from Child, Christ, his misery is so loud) and grimly signing anti-SOPA and anti-PIPA petitions, I also tried to work out the effective lifespan of a working restriction on the internet that wouldn't break beneath the stress of regulation. I'm not specifically talking about the crippling amount of damage I'm pretty sure the cyberhacktivists could pull off given enough free time and incentive (and what do you think they're going to be doing with their free time now that time spent downloading and watching illegal music has gone poof?); I'm talking about how fast tech catches up with reality, and if anyone is under the impression that piracy will ever be more than briefly set back, they haven't paid attention to human history. Try this, let's go back ten years and look at what has changed since then; nothing at all. It's gotten faster, and it's gotten easier, and it picked up some new names, but filesharing is filesharing world without end and it's not going to stop. It's going to get worse, for whatever value of worse. And if the entire idea is to put it off by massive lawsuits, again, see your history; that didn't work either and then just pissed people off. DRM was chum in the water. New blurays' encryption is hacked practically before the movies they're based on are released. Apple lost the right to penalize consumers from jailbreaking their own phones.

We use the word jailbreaking in perfectly legitimate news stories without irony to refer to Apple's restrictions on its own product.

I don't particularly think long-term this will break or even damage the cyberlocker; I am pretty sure, however, that someone, somewhere, did, is, or will very soon file a lawsuit on the strength of whether or not digital space can be under ownership like your car, your house, your apartment, or your, you know, closet.

Final article because, really:
Behind the music: What if the culture industry shut down for a day?

Tagline: Wikipedia went black in protest against anti-piracy legislation. But which would you miss more: an encyclopaedia or music?

Wikipedia. Bitterly, every second. I knew I used it a lot, but I didn't realize how much until I hit that page no less than ten times absently looking up something I'd read and then staring blankly at it because yeah, it's still down.

The article itself is adorable, and a part of it cultural elitism--wherefore does your entertainment come if not from Hollywood and the RIAA--but a really scary amount of it isn't corporate shilling; behind it is an honest bewilderment with the idea that culture exists that isn't paid for. This is a very bad article in general, but I offer it up for amusement value.

...seriously, lose Wikipedia? You can have my entire music collection, but do not fuck with my ability to find information. I waited my entire life for the world to become a library; so not losing it now.

See, the thing is, I don't think anything is going to get better very soon.
Their relentless, pitiless war that requires that every customer is also an enemy from the moment they buy the product because of their potential for using it in ways not sanctioned by the producer is not a business model. I'm not worried as much about the long term, but the short term does worry me a lot, because what the entertainment industries and pro-regulation are trying to do will not work as a model, but they can do so much damage in the meantime to people, to new ideas, to new possibilities.

Yes, this is not an uplifting entry, but I just told Child about the X-Box Live thing Anonymous is planning and honestly, bringing the entire entertainment industry to its knees and doesn't sound so bad if it means I won't have him staring at me balefully from the door every few minutes because I'm not, IDK, rebuilding megaupload from scratch and leading a revolution. I mean, sure, I'm lazy, but he whines.
Watching the fight against Internet piracy is like watching history being made, and by that I mean eighteenth-century history. The late historian Barbara Tuchman wrote at length in The March of Folly about the potentially catastrophic results of trying to control that which you cannot control. She illustrated this with an account of how England basically pushed its North American colonies into armed revolt, even though it was widely assumed that the loss of the American colonies would doom England. The MPAA and RIAA have to accept and adapt to the realities of the twenty-first century; there's no going back.
I am totally stealing that point the next time someone tries to talk to me about the morality and/or justice of controlling an uncontrollable thing.

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That's why he goes bad, you know -- all the good people hit him on the head or try to shoot him and constantly mistrust him, while there's this vast cohort of minions saying, We wouldn't hurt you, Lex, and we'll give you power and greatness and oh so much sex...

Wow. That was scary. Lex is like Jesus in the desert.
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Beth: god, why do i have so many beads?
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silverkyst: though, as a sidenote, I did learn how to eviscerate a fruit fly larvae by pulling it's mouth out by it's mouthparts today.
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You know, if obi-wan had just disciplined the boy *properly* we wouldn't be having these problems. Can't you just see yoda? "Take him in hand, you must. The true Force, you must show him."
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