Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Why History Needs Software Piracy

I just wanted to share this article from PC World's website. There has been recent concerns over SOPA and PIPA, and even more significantly the closure of Megaupload and other download sites. This represents an erosion of many years of archiving by valued sites such as Snesorama and RetroMags, to name but two. The latter of which has lost 99% of its archives. These insidious actions by the governments and corporations of the world are tantamount to mass book burning. If that simile upsets a few people, then good, because the destruction of our electronic cultural heritage upsets me deeply. We are losing our history, people. Read the article, write letters, blog about it, don't let information be lost in silence.


  1. They don't care about history, they care about profits.

  2. While I hate SOPA/PIPA and anything else that's causing all this insane ruckus, I have to ask WHY anyone in their right mind would store ALL their important content on ONE site and not have a physical backup closer to home. Just, In. Case.

    What's worse, Megaupload was well known for a while to be a pretty shady place, so some people who had LEGAL content there SHOULD have just been better prepared in terms of keeping their own content in more than one place in case something like this would occur.

    As we all know (or SHOULD know) the Internet isn't fail-safe, foolproof or completely free from major errors (or malicious human activity) that have wiped data without a single government intrusion.

    A while back, I was dumb enough to NOT keep personal backups, but a hard drive crash (and literal burn), a server failure elsewhere and a few hacks wiped out a few years of review work on a now dead site. I've since learned my lesson NOT to use any storage I can't access offline in case of an emergency AND to back stuff up regularly.

    1. I can't speak for anyone else - but the reason Retromags used Megaupload for their content was for two main reasons.

      1) Their web host wouldn't let them host the magazines directly on the server.

      2) They frequent-downloader kickbacks they were getting from MegaUpload was enough to cover most (if not all) the costs of a premium membership on MegaUpload (which made sure that their files wouldn't get taken down) - something that they couldn't do through RapidShare and (I presume) DepositFiles.

      Most of the users had offline backups, so it's just a matter of getting everything back online, but considering how many other filelockers are restricting access, it's still a hassle to get everything back up and running.

  3. An excellent point. I back everything up, with DVD burns and a USB HDD. It's not just MU though, it's everything, a great encroaching dark cloud or laws, and seizures, and DRM. MU was just the biggest thing so far to really affect us. Everyone should back up data, and laws need to change allowing antiquated software to be backed up. Not just SMB3, which Nintendo will always have a copy of, but weird stuff like Mario Roulette, which probably want to dust under the carpet.

  4. I have to agree with Greg on this one. Very well put.

  5. just out of interest, what does sopa and the other ones mean for actuall archive sites like... archive/internet archive? Or even muesums, in the real world?

    I know so very little on this odd subject other than its sending people into a frenzy.

  6. As much as the whole Megaupload bring down is really annoying...if all of that stuff made it on the internet to begin with, it'll make it back eventually. It might take a few years, but the community is resilient. Even if something like this passes, they're still be around, just more underground.

    I don't think SOPA/PIPA affects physical museums, but it might actually have an effect on Archive.org. If a company, for example, didn't want any of their pages archived, they could go in there and have them wiped out. Can they do that now? I'm not really sure.

  7. Is that only my perception, or did Rapidshare, Filesonic & co. now go on a deleting spree to get rid of stuff they think might put them in danger? Could be just me, but lately I've been getting much more "file deleted" messages from those than I used to.

    @ Greg: I have no doubt someone has the RetroMags stuff backed up. But reuploading hundreds of files at once also means a helluva lot of work, work someone with a demanding day job might not be able/willing to tackle.

    @ Discoalucard: You can put a robots.txt extension that retroactively bans the entire history of the domain in the Wayback Machine, I think even if the domain had other owners before, and you can also have your site blocked manually by contacting them.

  8. Every time yankess shit themselves, suddenly they remember there's a world around them. NO, it's not the "governments and corporations of the world": it's your fucking beloved Obama, which you histerically adore like the Dear Leader in N. Korea. And who's been the biggest censor and secrecy nut in recent memory.

  9. Derboo, it's NOT just you. They are out on a delete spree.
    Streaming sites are also deleting and banning any one who uploads tv-shows/movies/music ever since megavideo went down.

    It's really annoying to me because I was never interested in American entertainment to begin with, which is the thing this law is supposed to protect.
    So, now watching The Office UK online is pretty much impossible even though the it originally aired 10 years ago and they are not making any money off DVD sales anymore. Lame.

  10. @derboo, your correct, alot of filesharing sites have gone on a deleting spree just in case. i think youtube did a simular thing for tvshows/cartoons but they usually do that anyway.

    another thought, the App store for mobile phones and stuff is also in danger of sopa as it has an assload of material they may deem fit to delete but methinks thats not a big an issue as it sounds.

    frankly i'm more worried that normal, seemingly harmless sites, may be victim. what if a site like gamesradar does a bad review or puts up a video/image that the developers/publishers don't like? bye bye time?

  11. Hello Matteo! Did you know that the author of this post is actually not American? And also, given on your total ignorance re: the USA's general opinion on the president, I'm going to assume you're not either.

  12. Now filesonic won't let you access content not uploaded there by yourself, other sites have deleted items, some mentioning that they did it because of sopa/pipa.

    I did some market intelligence research for Nico Partners http://www.nikopartners.com/ about a year back on Mexico and one of the subjects they asked us to look into was prevalence of piracy as well as reasons, so I trawled a lot of posts on Mexican gaming sites to look into it.

    It was interesting to see how attitudes in Mexico towards software piracy related to how it's viewed here in the states. I think most of us would agree that many pirate games here in order to have access to games no longer available or for systems we don't own, such as my practicing my Japanese through the downloading of Jap versions of games.

    The posts I read in Mexico however had far more to do with price, as in "I pirate because I can't afford to pay for the game itself" as opposed to "I pirate in order to play stuff I wouldn't normally have access to".
    Does that make sense?

    In terms of what the FBI did here, I was more surprised that they didn't go after more sites at once like Fileserve, Filesonic, hotfile, etc. etc. etc.

  13. If any of you are interested in reading more about piracy in terms of how the US views piracy you can check out the US Trade Representative's annual 301 report. Just google USTR 301 report

    Here's the first 2 paragraphs from the executive summary of 2011 report
    The “Special 301” Report is an annual review of the global state of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement, which the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) conducts pursuant to Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 and the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (enacted in 1994).
    This Report reflects the Administration’s resolve to encourage and maintain effective IPR protection and enforcement worldwide. It identifies a wide range of concerns, including troubling “indigenous
    innovation” policies that may unfairly disadvantage U.S. rights holders in China, the continuing challenges of copyright piracy over the Internet in countries such as Canada, Spain, Italy and Russia, and the ongoing, systemic IPR enforcement issues presented in many trading partners around the world.

  14. Let's face it: they won this round.

  15. @Matteo
    To address your comment directly, since you quoted my original post: I'm British, not American. Also, Derboo is German. HG101 is a rather international crowd, truth be told.

    This is far more significant than just the US and the FBI though. The arrests/server shutdowns were made in New Zealand, weren't they? Corporate reach is global. And many countries, including the UK, regularly extradite their own nationals to the US when they demand it. Recently a UK student was arrested and is facing extradition to the US for running a website which links people to online videos. He doesn't provide the videos, he just links people to sites where they can watch them.

    This is definitely not just a US thing.