mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Guess that whole terrorist thing must be done with..

Slashdot is linking to this story about the arrest of some college kid in Iowa for his involvement in pirating movies. The sting was part of "Operation Fastlink," which targeted the underground community's hierarchy with agents conducting more than 120 searches within 24 hours in 27 states and 11 foreign countries. The BSA (business software alliance, an industry group that is sort of the software equivilant of the RIAA or MPAA) claims that he "stole" over $200,000 in software.

I wonder about this for a number of reasons. The first is I have a big problem with companies claiming that pirated software is equal to a loss of the value of that software. They like to claim that people would otherwise buy the software they pirate, but I doubt this. For years I had a pirated copy of Photoshop on my main machine. There is no way in hell I would have paid the $600 or so it went for, since I used it about twice a year. Am I saying I was right to pirate it? No, but my piracy of it did not result in any loss to Adobe, because I would never have bought it.

Secondly, is this really the best use of FBI resources, to go after people for warez (pirated software)? To me, this is the kind of thing that should be dealt with in civil court, through lawsuits. This is how the RIAA is going after filesharers. Aren't there enough terrorists and violent criminals out there for the FBI to go after instead of some kid running an FTP server with software cracks on it?

This reminds me of speed enforcement. In Baltimore, it's not unusual to see speed traps with 8-10 cop cars. I always wonder why they are doing that - in a city with around 300 murders a year, where I can find more places to buy crack than a cup of coffee, can't they use their resources better? I know that the guys they have holding the radar gun probably are not crack homicide detectives, but they could at least be doing street patrol - criminals may think twice about jacking Mad Anthony's rims if they see a cop car driving by.


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