Why Elisa's Blockade Is Such A Big Thing

The court's order to make Elisa block access to certain websites became our most retweeted story yesterday. It received almost 1500 retweets in about 24 hours. I'm sure the plaintiff didn't anticipate the implications this will have, not only on Elisa but on a variety of other things - potentially even harming themselves. The more significant result to this is perhaps that Finland received a lot of negative publicity in the digital media space for its court's decision. In a time when countries are competing for appeal in the eye of digital media entrepreneurs, a lot of potential candidates saw Finland's position diminish. This may sound far fetched, but it really isn't. Let me explain why.

Firstly, our economies are built on the assumption that certain laws will safeguard industries and lower risk of doing business in those industries. By this I mean that certain activities are not deemed illegal next year, out of the blue. Industries that face legislative change are by nature considered more riskier.

This goes well in line with the definition of political risk when investing into emerging markets. As governments are forming their opinions on industries and corporations, they may make legislative changes quite fast to steer their country to the right direction. Unanticipated changes like this increase the risk of doing business and usually lower foreign investments.

The internet industry at large, is also built on this same assumption. Companies assume that they will be protected by similar laws that apply to the rest of the society at large. When Elisa was forced to block access to certain websites through copyright law, it changes the game completely. Extrapolating a little on this, the obvious question can be asked - what other laws can be used to force service providers to deny access to internet properties?

The valuations of thousands of internet companies are built on the assumption that they will be allowed to run their businesses as one would think. Even though the industry at hand is one that has suffered a lot from illegal activity, laws should not be used in the way they weren't meant to be used. No amount of illegal activity should allow for that.

Secondly, Finland's image as an interesting, advanced country in the realm of internet technologies and companies has definitely taken a dent. While the music industry is trying to save their dying business models, they are doing so by hurting the very future that could save them. Having an infrastructure in place, from not only a legislative point of view, but also economical, to support the growth and development of innovative and disruptive companies is crucial.

Using laws for something they are not meant to be used is dangerous and the most obvious false defense for this is that "this was a unique case and it won't happen again".

Of course these are only my thoughts, but I have a strong hunch that we haven't seen the end of this yet.

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Lauri Gröhn January 10, 2012

Blocking stealing can't be "negative publicity".

"Extrapolating a little on this, the obvious question can be asked - what other laws can be used to force service providers to deny access to internet properties?"

How do you "extrapolate" stealing?

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Antti Vilpponen January 10, 2012

Lauri, things aren't as black and white :)

Does the end result justify any kind of means to achieve it? I strongly argue against this. Having said this - I'm all for protecting IP and copyright (and thus in favor of not supporting piracy), but this isn't the way to go about it.

The end result is a lot bigger than just blocking a few domains.

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Lauri Gröhn January 10, 2012

You are right. The end result will be bigger. Expelling the copyright thieves on the long run.

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Antti Vilpponen January 10, 2012

But if the pirates keep circumventing the blockades all the time, how far do we have to go down this road to make it work? Cut internet connectivity altogether? Most likely.

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Lauri Gröhn January 10, 2012

Actually pirates are working for that, pretending to be heros of freedom of speech.

Looking at some forums, now, many pirates are distributing proxies to illegally distribute IPR protected materials.

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Mathieu January 10, 2012

This process is not blocking stealing. This process is preventing file sharing in general. Legitimate or not. It is as if you would declare cars outlawed because they are giving the possibilities to some drivers to drive over the speed limit.

Laws exit to close down sites which are contravening the law. These laws can be specific to countries, but within the EU they must comply with the European treaties and laws. It seems that in regards of the Swedish or the European law TPB is not Contravening any law.

Forcing an ISP to restrict access to a specific site is an act of censorship with consequences for all the honest users of the service as well as the bad ones.

Instead of lobbying for inadequate and dangerous laws for our digital future, professionals working in digital media should set a real user friendly service to access the contents that people are looking for. Alas it seems that their only priority is to sand bag an archaic business model.

In the 1910' they would have been horses distributor trying to impose laws to restrict the spreading of cars (eg. In the early days of car driving in France, it was mandatory to have a man with a lantern walking at least 300 m in front of the car in area with no public light after nightfall).

The Copyright matters is the biggest threat for creativity for internet services because it does not take into consideration the expectations for internet users to have an easy and affordable access to the content they wish, despite the fact that the necessary technology and the business model are available and working.

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Lauri Gröhn January 10, 2012

"In the 1910' they would have been horses distributor trying to impose laws to restrict the spreading of cars"

Are you serious toi prove something.

"The Copyright matters is the biggest threat for creativity"

Taking open source software as an example there are very few examples of creativity or innovation. The development cost and risks and user testing has been done by some organization on its own cost. Only after then there will be open source sw with limited risk and costs.

Sosializing IPR without permission of the IPR owner is a crime, in western countries at least.

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Jon Martin January 10, 2012

I agree with Antti. The pain caused by this move does little to prevent piracy and much to make Finland look bad. Censoring the internet should be an absolute last resort and this isn't even close.

Spotify has done more to get people paying for music again than this kind of measure ever would. Louis CK also had fantastic results with his direct DRM free downloads recently. He claims he made $1m selling at $5 a download compared to the $200,000 he would have made distributing traditionally that would have cost the consumer $20. (https://buy.louisck.net/news)

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Lauri Gröhn January 10, 2012

Its not censoring, its preventing crimes.

Isn't it fair that IPR owner themselves can decide, not thieves, how to make business?

Taking some singular examples doesn't prove anything. And can you even prove your Louis CK story?

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Mathieu January 10, 2012

@Lauri, what do you mean by "Are you serious toi prove something."?

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Lauri Gröhn January 10, 2012

"In the 1910' they would have been horses distributor trying to impose laws to restrict the spreading of cars"

This example is not relevant for this discussion.

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H H January 10, 2012

I agree with Lauri. If the PirateBay would do something to block content protected by IPR's they would not have been blocked.

Since they are not doing anything to block such content, the only way to go is to block access to such entity.

Same applies to other companies. If a company does not follow the laws, let's say fair marketing laws as an example. They will get conditional fine to enforce them to close the activities before more severe actions are taken.

So this has nothing new for people with common sense. If I produce something, I have right to set the price for it, not the buyer.

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Jon Martin January 10, 2012

"Its not censoring, its preventing crimes."

The two are not mutually exclusive. It both censors (a lot) and prevents crime (possibly a bit). The question is whether it is worth it.

"Taking some singular examples doesn't prove anything. And can you even prove your Louis CK story?"

I think you're missing the point, which is that innovative entrepreneurship stands a better chance of rewarding creativity than censoring the internet. And go to the link - it at least looks highly probable he's telling the truth.

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Lauri Gröhn January 10, 2012

"I think you're missing the point, which is that innovative entrepreneurship stands a better chance of rewarding creativity than censoring the internet."

Irrelevant. SW business and other business ha quit different business model compared with music business.

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Johan Geerts January 10, 2012

Can't really believe what I read here, this is not only for 'stealing', the fact that the internet is open is at stake here.
What they are trying to do is just the beginning, what is the next thing? Different history for each country depending on your location and separate press coverage?

No, this should not and should never be accepted, I'm actually amazed that it is accepted by some as a good thing.

In my opinion, the fact that there is such a big amount of 'stealing' going on is that companies with copyrights try to ignore the fact that there is a huge market potential online.

Movies for example, it still isn't possible to buy movies online and rather ignore the market potential. They are missing out on huge profit because of that decision. People really want to pay for movies, but they want you to walk to the video store and buy huge amounts for a movie or hire DVD's? Really? They should innovate and generate profit, but they don't.

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generic_brian January 10, 2012

Lauri,

Can I weigh in here? As a lifetime nerd I went to school and studied nerdy things. My first passion was astrophysics, but after starting college I quickly lost my passion for school. We needed a break and I needed a degree. So I pressed on anyway with the assumption that the likelihood of my only ever having a bachelors for most of it was almost 100%. Did some research on what you can do with a bachelors of astrophysics and switched to math.

Fast forward 2 years after college. I have a degree in math, the economy sucks, and I still haven't figured out what I want to do. I've been using the web since I was pretty young but never thought about it as more than a place to post funny stuff and read some articles. About a year ago I took a critical look at what was happening on the internet and got fucking excited. You can do anything with it! It's literally a new frontier that's begging for some awesome new toys.

I set about teaching myself some html, css, mysql and php for my first database driven website. How did I figure out how to use this stuff? Open source information. I read tutorials, grabbed plugins, etc. Lauri, I got a job at a startup a bit over 6 months ago. They want me to learn javascript. Bam. Done. I'm not perfect, but because of open source I am improving incredibly fast an doing some cool innovative (but silly) projects of my own. I'm building tools for the web community that got me started, and the better I get the better those tools will get.

Without open source and the free spread of information on the web there's no way I would have been able to learn as much as quickly as I have. There's no way I would have interviewed with my now boss and had him think I knew what I was doing or was at least basically competent. In my honest opinion, what stifles creativity is not giving things away for free, but focusing too much on profits. If you want a historic tragedy, look at the one way battle between Tesla and Edison because of money. It seems obvious to me that if profits are your number one goal then profits are going to be the thing focused on. Not creativity for the industry, creativity for earning as much money as you can. My passion has always been to create. It's nice to make a living, but that's all I need. I don't need to be rich, I just want to make awesome stuff that people enjoy and use. This is the mindset that keeps industries going, not the bottom line, because when you have passionate people behind your product who think only about the product and not the profits, you get amazing results.

Again, that's my opinion.

I'm gonna leave you with one real-world example of piracy vs. internet censorship. I read this on reddit. Think about China. Arguably the most censored web in the world. I always knew that bootlegging was huge in china (and still is) but this redditor (and several others with experience in the country) said that in fact, in china, those who pay for legit copies of dvds et al are considered suckers. Therefore the market for them is tiny, despite the fact that the chinese people have a very censored internet.

again, all opinions.... but just think about them.

-written from the crapper-

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Lauri Gröhn January 10, 2012

Brian,

I am not at all against open source. What I said that it is rarely innovative because it is based on existing ideas.

China is interesting because I have not been able to find any remarkable modern Chinese innovation. Cultural bias?

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H H January 10, 2012

Brian,

I can not understand Your point. You are comparing free open source software and tools to illeagal actions. It's great that You have learned all that stuff, but to be able to learn and be able to steal are two totally different issues.

I live in Finland and we have great parks to do sport, I can do it free since those are public places but I understand that even when I can do sports there for free, I can not carry on the chairs and benches they put there to my house. The later one wold be stealing like the people does who downloads commercial content they have not purchased.

I hope You ndersnatd the difference.

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H H January 10, 2012

Brian, also all technologies You mentioned are not invented as open source, but copied from the results of heavy r'nd work.

In such cases I think thath the copying is ok, since they have copied the basic idea, not the code itself. In my opinion the ideas should not be patented but tools how it has been accomplished should be. That does not kill way to reproduce the same idea again by new innovation, but protects the original innovator from other people to steal hi's investigation work.

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generic_brian January 10, 2012

I'm not advocating for thievery, I'm advocating for keeping the web open. The way I see it, the more free and open information we have on the net the faster it will grow. And the faster it grows the more useful it becomes for every single industry in the world. If professionals in all fields freely shared ideas and innovations instantly through a network like the internet we would definitely see faster improvement and invention of technologies. Just the act of "hey, I made this use it. Oh, and here's the source!" is what's allowed me to be creative in javascript after only 6 months of using it.

Collaboration fosters innovation, the free internet fosters collaboration. A closed internet will do the opposite. (again in my opinion)

People used the car analogy and I think it's apt. but more so in this way. Fast cars are good for getaways from a multitude of crimes. Let's ban the auto industry from creating cars with fast engines and allow police to pull over and search cars they suspect of having too high a horse power. Orrr... torrenting sites can be used to steal data and intellectual property, so let's just block access despite the fact that they're a fast an innovative way to share legitimate files over the web.

It's as if the entertainment industry is so big it cannot innovate, so they legislate. This is a poor business model in my view. One that leads to the atrophy of innovation because it supports old and dying structures. The music industry has always been pretty awful at what it does. I don't remember the exact percentages, but it has something like a 90% failure rate. Of all the artists who go, dreams of making it as musicians in hand, most of them fail in the commercial realm, but the ones who succeed are successful enough that they can make up for the loss in revenue. I don't know about you, but I don't think that's such a great idea. Artists who are signed onto a label tend to have some sort of following, and failing as a recording artist can (and usually does) mean you lose the legal right to perform any of the songs you had written at the time of signing and until your contract is up.

Lauri, everything from science to art uses existing ideas and builds on them (we stand on the shoulders of giants). I think you have this impression that open source software is some sink where people use the free software and never innovate. That simply isn't the case, and the implication demonstrates a pretty narrow field of vision.

You don't see much innovation from China? Do you notice a correlation between the censoring of ideas and a lack of some obvious global presence in the digital information world?

China is actually innovative, if you don't see it then you simply aren't looking. In my opinion China could be much more innovative if more of its people had access to the western sites that are blocked. There are a lot of people there, which implies there's a lot of brain power. If they ever kick this current political model I have a feeling we'll start seeing more salient innovation from average joes in china.

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generic_brian January 10, 2012

"In such cases I think thath the copying is ok, since they have copied the basic idea, not the code itself. In my opinion the ideas should not be patented but tools how it has been accomplished should be. That does not kill way to reproduce the same idea again by new innovation, but protects the original innovator from other people to steal hi's investigation work."

HH, in the real world, the patent system is broken. Here's a great source:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack

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Lauri Gröhn January 10, 2012

"Lauri, everything from science to art uses existing ideas and builds on them (we stand on the shoulders of giants). I think you have this impression that open source software is some sink where people use the free software and never innovate."

Science is about knowledge. Technology is about artefacts. You are making wrong comparisons. Open source is technology having nothing to do with science.

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generic_brian January 10, 2012

Science, art and technology are about knowledge and creativity.

Prove to me that they are not and I will agree with you.

If you're implying that science and creativity don't have an overlap, I know for a fact that Einstein would disagree with you.

Maybe my problem is that I don't put barriers between these disciplines, or maybe the problem is that you apparently do.

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Lauri Gröhn January 10, 2012

You are just fighting against your own strawman. There can be creativity in just anything people do.

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generic_brian January 10, 2012

I guess that's a possibility, I haven't really read what I've written. I have a tendency to leave out important parts in on the fly discussions like these.

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Isko January 11, 2012

"Blocking stealing can't be "negative publicity"."

Lauri, is there a standing Finnish court ruling that states that PirateBay is stealing? Or is this just you expressing your opinion as a "fact"?

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H H January 11, 2012

Isko,

if You are totally new in this matter, please kindly read the following press release
http://www.elisa.fi/ir/pressi/index.cfm?t=100&o=5120&did=17731

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Lauri Gröhn January 11, 2012

I was waiting for that argument, it always comes out.

Guys,
you are fighting for changing rules. So why it is so difficult to understand, that the laws are always behind the reality. So is the terminology, also. Pirates are stealing, that's it. Adding some to the old definition.

Theft, the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's freely-given consent. (wiki)

Horsepower was originally defined to compare the output of steam engines with the power of draft horses in continuous operation...

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Isko January 11, 2012

HH thank you, very enlightening but still doesn't answer the question.

HH and Lauri: is there a standing court ruling in Finland where it has been clearly established that what PirateBay (or other such sites) is doing, is in fact, by law, stealing?

If not, please stick to the facts and don't try to assert your own opinions as such.

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Lauri Gröhn January 11, 2012

I answered only for that "stealing"

"is there a standing Finnish court ruling that states that PirateBay is stealing?"

Can you find any wholes on the court rule?

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Isko January 11, 2012

Lauri, you stated that, quote: "Blocking stealing can't be "negative publicity".".

How can the court ruling be "blocking stealing" when there is no court ruling that, in fact, states that what is blocked is by law stealing?

Blocking access to something that you disagree with.. well that's called something totally different. I bet you can find that from Wikipedia as well.

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Lauri Gröhn January 11, 2012

I was waiting for that argument, it always comes out.

Guys,
you are fighting for changing rules. So why it is so difficult to understand, that the laws are always behind the reality. So is the terminology, also. Pirates are stealing, that's it. Adding some to the old definition.

Theft, the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's freely-given consent. (wiki)

Horsepower was originally defined to compare the output of steam engines with the power of draft horses in continuous operation...

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Isko January 11, 2012

Great Lauri, so now you're avoiding your own comments by re-posting your own previous comments? Pathetic much?

But to get back to the matter at hand that you're trying to avoid: is there a court ruling that states that PirateBay is in fact stealing? If not, then the court ruling can't be "blocking stealing" as you stated?

Is there any other illegal activity that PirateBay is participating in that has been established in the Finnish court? If no, then the court ruling is not blocking any other illegal activity either, is it?

You might have your opinions and you're entitled to them. But whether those opinions should be used to base legal judgements on, is altogether a different thing.

No matter how you read the law, this is a clear case of pre censorship. And as a Finn I'm ashamed that our legal system has stood to such lows.

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H H January 11, 2012

Isko,

it's all up to Pirate Bay to stop sharing content which IPR belongs to others. If they would co-op with leagal entities and followed the laws, they would not been blocked.

Since they do not block such content, only option is to block them and this is totally right act from Finnish courts and I'm so proud that they have balls to do that.

You can blame users who share content they do not own from changing Internet to more closed environment, not any court decision which is based on law.

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Isko January 11, 2012

HH you stated: "it's all up to Pirate Bay to stop sharing content which IPR belongs to others".

So, what you're saying is, you don't even have a basic understand of how torrent networks work?

Here's a quick introduction: PirateBay doesn't share or host any content. Any other arguments you made based on that false assumption are irrelevant. Please make sure you understand the technology before you make knee-jerk reactions to it.

"Since they do not block such content, only option is to block them and this is totally right act from Finnish courts". Since they do not share or host any IPR protected content this is a moot point. But to dwell on it, by what law is blocking (censoring) them a "right act from Finnish courts"?

I'm not sure what you're referring to on the last part but it seems that you understand as little of the Finnish court system as you do of the technology you're trying to prevent. The decision is not final, as you can read from the statements made by Elisa. And wether or not it's based on the law is therefore still open. And how ever this is decided in Finland is irrelevant as there's already a standing ruling from the European Court that states:

"EU law precludes governments or courts from requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to place blanket blocks on the sharing of copyrighted material."
http://jrnl.ie/287686

So, to sum it all up:
- There's no standing judgement in Finland that states what PB is doing is actually illegal
- blocking access to legal content is considered censorship
- there's already a standing ruling from European Court saying such a blocking is illegal

And you root for such illegal acts?!? Maybe you would feel more at home in, say, North Korea.

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H H January 11, 2012

Isko, if You state that Pirate Bay is not connected to any illegal business, maybe You should check the facts. It's same for if they are sharing the content or links to content which is not belonging to them. If they do not take actions to follow law, only correct thing is to block access to them.

Also I'm 100% capitalist (I assume that You can understand that from my comments), so I think that when comparing me to communist just states that You really don't have picture of how this world works.

Thank You for understaning and goog bye.

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Lauri Gröhn January 11, 2012

"The music industry shrugged off the implications of the decision. Other measures to curb illegal file sharing, including the blocking of Web sites that enable piracy and the cutoff of persistent file-sharers’ Internet connections, will not be affected, the industry’s international lobbying group said."

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Lauri Gröhn January 11, 2012

"Although this particular order was found to be unlawful, the court’s reasoning seems to leave scope for more limited, less intrusive and less costly systems to be found to be lawful. For example in the recent UK case ordering BT to use URL blocking to prevent access to a copyright infringing website the court clearly considered it significant that BT already had a URL blocking system in place and that the additional cost of the order would be a few thousand pounds.
"

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Isko January 11, 2012

HH please provide any information that would point to a fact that Pirate Bay is in fact conducting "illegal business". As I've already asked for you to provide any information that would point to PB's illegality, and you've yet failed to provide any, I can only assume that you're just blowing hot air and ran out of industry talking points.

Have fun grasping at straws while the business model you're promoting is on it's way to irrelevance. Bye bye.

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Isko January 11, 2012

Lauri keywords there being "industry’s international lobbying group".

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Lauri Gröhn January 11, 2012

Is that illegal? Fighting against criminal acts of delivering without permission copoyrighted material ..

What is you own "keyword" / motivation? Helping youngsters to continue stealing?

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Isko January 11, 2012

"Fighting against criminal acts of delivering without permission copoyrighted material .." if only so.

"Is that illegal?" well, it depends on your definition of illegal.

My motivation? To build a sustainable business model for both, the industry and its customers, while not trumping on free speech or curbing the technical development.

And I think we can both agree that's something not on the agenda here.

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Lauri Gröhn January 11, 2012

How blocking illegal distribution of copyrighted material is against free speech?

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Isko January 11, 2012

Well, firstly you should be able to establish that what is actually being blocked here is, in fact, illegal. And even though you and HH like to throw around terms like "stealing" and "illegal", there is no standing ruling in Finland that Pirate Bay is doing anything any of these.

Therefore, the whole basis of your argument is without a merit.

And how is this blocking against free speech? How is this NOT against free speech? Blocking access to sites that have not been found breaking any Finnish laws just because one business entity doesn't like the content of the sites?

Yep, sounds about as legal as anything conducted in China.

And there's a whole slew of theories on how this is against the whole idea of free speech but this is not the place to discuss them. Instead, I'll just point to a single fact on this ruling: requiring Elisa to block access to piraattilahti.fi which, if you check is a domain that points to a website of EFFI. Wonder how that address happened to be on that list?

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Lauri Gröhn January 11, 2012

I didn't know that music is "speaking".

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Isko January 11, 2012

And I didn't know being an industry shrill requires you to be illiterate as well.

Please read that comment again and tell me how you get from protecting free speech in internet to "I didn't know that music is "speaking"."

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Lauri Gröhn January 11, 2012

What is downloaded in this case is music, not text/speech.

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Isko January 11, 2012

Yes, it totally does require you not to understand the issue to be able to defend your stand.

Ran out of talking points there, did we?

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Lauri Gröhn January 11, 2012

You lost your case here answering this way:

"Lauri keywords there being "industry’s international lobbying group".

To these:

Lauri Gröhn January 11, 2012
"The music industry shrugged off the implications of the decision. Other measures to curb illegal file sharing, including the blocking of Web sites that enable piracy and the cutoff of persistent file-sharers’ Internet connections, will not be affected, the industry’s international lobbying group said."

Lauri Gröhn January 11, 2012
"Although this particular order was found to be unlawful, the court’s reasoning seems to leave scope for more limited, less intrusive and less costly systems to be found to be lawful. For example in the recent UK case ordering BT to use URL blocking to prevent access to a copyright infringing website the court clearly considered it significant that BT already had a URL blocking system in place and that the additional cost of the order would be a few thousand pounds."

Bye.

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Isko January 11, 2012

Yes, because I'm the one here standing to lose something.

Have fun on your way to irrelevance. Bye bye.

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Hopeasiipi January 12, 2012

Hello,

This small comment I'm mostly aiming for the people here who support the internet censorship. I'd like to use a minute of your time to explain why blocking Elisa is really bad action. And why the writer of the story is on a right tracks. This isn't just a black and white case where pirates are thefts and companies and artists make losses because of that. Its something you clearly lack understanding of. I hope that this makes you guys think about this more deeper.

However first of all I'd like to make a point that the actual piracy has absolutely nothing to do with what I like to call "illegal use of copyrighted material". Piracy refers to stealing. But what we are dealing here is not a crime called "theft". However since the misuse of the word is so common, I'll just use the same language as you guys, for your sake.

Internet piracy is very interesting topic and there have been many good neutral studies done on that ground. I am not sure if you know but most of these studies concentrate around a question: "What causes good lawful people to knowingly participate on sharing and downloading illegally copyrighted material?". Guess what is the most common finding when neutral and respectable researchers do this study?

However I don't think that I have the certain credentials to prove this to you guys. So I think that its only proper that instead me writing something you guys can easily just dismiss, I'll let mr. Gabe Newell tell you the answer. As you know Newell is the top dogs in Valve, a company specialized in digital distribution of games and related content for people. Valve's main product Steam content platform is world's largest of its size. And also one of, if not, the most profitable. You would think that this "piracy", would hurt his business the most. I hope his words offer more weight to them than mine.

Gabe was asked in a respectable publication a question about DRM protection technologies, and he answered to that as follows:

"In general, we think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem. For example, if a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate's service is more valuable. Most DRM solutions diminish the value of the product by either directly restricting a customers use or by creating uncertainty.

Our goal is to create greater service value than pirates, and this has been successful enough for us that piracy is basically a non-issue for our company. For example, prior to entering the Russian market, we were told that Russia was a waste of time because everyone would pirate our products. Russia is now about to become our largest market in Europe."

Source: http://www.tcs.cam.ac.uk/story_type/site_trail_story/interview-gabe-newell/

So, in case you guys didn't get what I am here saying, I'll shorten that for you. Answer for the question I wrote before is that "Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem". Do you get it? A Problem in service! What does that mean? It means that because big entertainment companies aren't providing people services, the people go to eg. www.piratebay.org and download that stuff.

That however is not even the peak of this case. The Canadian record (this is important) industry did several studies on what kind of effects piracy has on their market. Results were that they actually sold more stuff because of the internet piracy. And the group which bought most of the stuff was the same group that also did most pirate acts on web.

Source isn't available anymore. But most of the news articles talking about the study are still online. Here's for example article from another respectable news source, Ars Technica: http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2006/03/6418.ars

But even that isn't the peak of everything. Do you know why especially the massive old entertainment companies what to censorship the Internet? Well, I don't know for sure, it's a no brainer if you think about it even if I cannot entirely prove it here and now.

They want to suppress and eliminate their competitor from the market. While I don't remember a study done on this subject, I do remember this very intellectual article from a veteran reporter and market analysts.

He wrote that Internet makes a marketing medium so large and so uncontrolled that big companies are fearing that there might be many small time companies that will use the Internet to eat away their profits. While I don't remember much about the article or the man (even with the help of the Google). I do how ever remember that this guy based his analytics on recent studies done on a same year where the subject was "How Internet affects small record labels". While I am not sure if it was this paper, I am pretty sure it was something similar to this: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1365622

But you might say that it's just one time, obscure study. So I went to search something alike...

http://www.mikes-marketing-tools.com/marketing-tips/internet-piracy.html

That guy, Michael Wong (apparently a marketing expert), makes lots of interesting points and summaries on various topics around this subject. I especially liked what he wrote about music industry and its non-effective efforts to fight against the internet piracy. I'll quote what he wrote about impact of Apple's iTunes: "Apple iTunes has shown that consumers are willing to pay for music downloads, if you give them what they want (singles), where they want (online) and how they want it (no copy protection)."

I suggest reading the book this Michael Wong read before writing his small article. It's called "The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism".

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/141653220X

...

Oops, this has become a quite long comment. Well I haven't even covered the SOPA/PIPA issue yet. Not to mention all the other things related to this action Elisa was forced to take. Thank god there's the Youtube. Here's a video where this guy "Cynical Brit" talks about SOPA/PIPA issue and why internet censorship is a really bad thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhwuXNv8fJM

I've not even touched the ACTA thing either.

Or talked about how ridiculous thing of software patents are. They practically just allow people to patent laws of the nature and pure mathematics which isn't supposed to be allowed. Thank god there's a great book about software patents called "Math You Can't Use: Patents, Copyright, and Software".

http://www.amazon.com/Math-You-Cant-Use-Copyright/dp/0815749422

...

You might want to ask what all this is has to do with the Elisa's Piratebay blocking? Well...

1. Blocking Piratebay is stupid action. Everybody can circumvent the DNS protection in 15 seconds. Blocking it doesn't discourage internet pirates. In fact I think it encourages them.

2. Piracy is not a decease. Its a symptom.

3. Pirates are doing what companies would never do for the people because it wouldn't be profitable for their big entertainment corporations. If people have needs and there's no legal way to fill them, they start doing piracy.

4. One pirated copy does not equal loss of one sold copy. Its important to understand that there are lots of people who wouldn't have been never interested in the product at all unless it was available for them to download for free.

5. Internet generates healthy competition. It enabled small companies to compete with big companies on equal terms eg. marketing. Censorship only makes it possible for big corporates to suppress and eliminate their competition. While they do that they disturb and twist the competition.

6. There are lots and lots of legal material on Piratebay too. Blocking of Piratebay already caused somebody to rise a court case against Elisa for "disturbing internet access" in Finland. Some of these materials include legally distributed music and movies from hobbyists and small time musicians. Even various other forms of art.

7. Not only that, the Elisa also blocked a internet site which had nothing to do with Piratebay. The site Piraattilahti was used to rise awareness what SOPA is and why it is a bad thing. Now one major site written in Finnish language which was telling for Finnish people what SOPA/PIPA is, cannot be accessed. This is highly illegal according to current major laws as pointed out by others here. Especially the EU laws see this blocking as a act which hurts the rights of the individuals the most.

8. From a technical point Piratebay is not doing anything illegal. They are helping people to connect. They are funding this service using the ads. Even Google gets most of their profits from ads they run on their services.

9. Internet Piracy is not entirely a same act as making cheap copies of luxury bag and then selling them.

10. This is already becoming way too big conclusion. I think I'll go to sleep. Have fun night arguing.

So thank you if you read all this and good night. :)

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Lauri Gröhn January 12, 2012

Hopeasiipi:
"The Canadian record (this is important) industry did several studies on what kind of effects piracy has on their market. Results were that they actually sold more stuff because of the internet piracy."

Hah. Correlation doesn't prove causality.

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Lauri Gröhn January 12, 2012

www.piraattilahti.fi and piraattilahti.fi has been removed from Elisa's blocking list.

Elisa on poistanut kaksi domain-osoitetta Pirate Bay-estolistalta. Alkuperäisellä ulosottoviranomaisen laatimalla listalla olivat jostain syystä nettisivut: www.piraattilahti.fi ja piraattilahti.fi

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Mika Vallittu January 12, 2012

Hi, this has been a great discussion to read.

I do not like, and I'm very concerned about this act of Elisa to cencor the Piratebay. The pressure coming from big media corporations that seek information monopoly is indeed getting heavier.

There is a great, but somewhat lengthy, article at mises.org titled "The Fallacy of Intellectual Property". This article analyses the philosophical problem of intellectual monopoly quite well. If you have time,
please read this!

http://mises.org/daily/3631

I certainly do not want to see internet developing towards the Chinese model here in the West, too.

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Lauri Gröhn January 12, 2012

That linked article is quite wrong.

E.g without patents Medicine companies could not have been able to invest for R&D of new medicine molecules. The costs for the whole process may be hundreds of millions.

etc.

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Jouni Mustalahti January 17, 2012

I agree with Lauri to some extent. I won't kid my self by saying that piratebay isn't populated by criminals(piracy), but i would still disagree with the court ruling and here is why.

A silly comparison:
lets say there is a playground on privately owned property somewhere. During the day its full of families playing but in the evening criminals come there and rob passing joggers and dog walkers.
A normal solution to this would be to police come and arrest the criminals.

What this court ruling is however this:
One specific taxi company is not allowed to drive customers to the park anymore.

(For clarification: Park=Piratebay, criminals=piratebay pirates, taxi company=Elisa)