Benjamin Seibel on Mon, 8 Dec 2008 08:16:25 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Call for support: why?

> In interfacing the two sites, the plug-in violated a taboo for
> as much for the P2P "pirate" community which was afraid that, through the
> plug-in, their niche could be discovered by the mainstream and
> consequently shut down. 

It is definitely a taboo for Amazon, but I wonder why it should be one 
for the pirates. At the moment there is simply no way to “shut down” 
unauthorized filesharing. And while I wouldn’t say it’s completely 
impossible to do so (it could probably be done at the cost of a major 
shift in the way we use the internet), I doubt it will happen anytime 
soon. This is the reason why The Pirate Bay can afford to publicly 
ridicule the big media companies and rights holders. Even if there is a 
huge network of organized “warez” trading operating in the dark, the 
more public appearances of piracy like TPB don’t feel the need to hide.

So I think the people who argue that TPB should stay under the radar got 
it all wrong. TPB is rather visible for some years now, and they play an 
important role by articulating the quite radical demand for a completely 
free and open cultural archive (a demand that definitely comes with a 
lot of problems). It is not even a very good tracker, they just act as 
spokespeople for the pirate “movement”. Therefore they probably want the 
visibility. At least you can find a torrent for the plug-in on their 
site, with more than 80 seeders.

Other commenters on digg and torrentfreak seem to argue that Amazon, 
with their low prices and good customer service, belong to the good guys 
and the pirates should go steal stuff somewhere else, which is utterly 
nonsense, because if people download a movie from TPB they steal it as 
much from Amazon as from any other DVD store.

I like the plug-in for its simplicity. It actually just linked two very 
simple tasks that are everyday practice for millions of internet users. 
It doesn’t “enable you to download stuff from Amazon for free”, which is 
the impression that not p2p-savvy people might get from the digg 
article. Everyone can download stuff from Amazon for free anyway. The 
plug-in just shows how easy it is, or how comfortable it could be if 
weren’t against the law. But bringing the website down is a mere 
symbolic gesture from Amazon, who, like all other companies, are more or 
less helpless when it comes to fighting actual filesharing. So I think 
as a parody the project is great, exactly because it added very little 
to the actual state of things. It is only a mere montage of facts, but 
precisely points to a major contradiction in information society.

all the best,


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