So, it's simple to catch Internet pirates, eh? You just grab their IP address when they download stuff from Torrent sites, trace it back to the source and click the cuffs on those thieves. Except when the breadcrumb trail leads to... Parliament?
Using IP-scraping tools similar to those used by the movie and recording industry to file lawsuits against "pirates", a Canadian firm has discovered that *someone* at Canada's Parliament has downloaded ebooks, films, music, Windows cracks, Adobe Premiere, and many "torrented" materials.
So, who was it? No one seems to know. But, they can conclusively prove that it was someone at an IP address at Parliament. Who should they sue? No one knows that either.
So, what if they show up at your door? Or, your grandmother's door?
"Hello. We're with the Recording Industry Association of America. We have conclusive evidence that someone at this residence has downloaded illegal copies of the latest release by Lady Gaga. We hope you have an attorney, ma'am, because you're in big trouble."
"Well, I'm a widow. I live here alone..."
"Ma'am, you've been downloading music from Internet torrent sites, haven't you? Admit it."
"I have a record player..."
"You steal music on the Internet!"
"My grandson set up my Internet so I can get pictures of cats. I call him when I can't see cats. He comes over."
"So, your grandson downloads music illegally using your computer?"
"Well, why would he? He has his own computer."
"Ma'am, we have some papers here for you. Our attorneys will be in touch."
Meanwhile, next door to Grandma, a fifteen year-old girl clicks on the same unprotected wi-fi she has been using for weeks. Somebody lives close enough and doesn't seem to mind at all.
The tactics used by the RIAA and MPAA to track down pirates are woefully inadequate to the legal task. Mostly, they are intimidation tactics, saber-rattling. The fact that many legislators don't know the limitations of these methods, yet have the responsibility to vote on laws that govern what these organizations can do to their enemies, is worrisome.
Meanwhile, that janitor at Parliament needs to fire up Transmission on his MacBook and finish that download of "True Blood" season four he started last night. Someone may be knocking any day.