p2pnet.net News:- On January 26 this year, Daniel Nagy was defending his PhD on lossless data compression at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
By February 1 he was back home in Hungary.
And on February 10, “my apartment was being searched by the police because I was the contact person for a server that runs a DC hub among other things,” he told p2pnet.
“That’s when I decided to organize resistance against the copyright mafia.”
The members of the Big Four Organized Music gang have been able to pull off a bizarre propaganda triumph through which copyright infringement has been raised to the height of crimes at the level of murder and rape.
With that as justification, and with the RIAA, their American ‘trade’ unit leading the way, they now routinely take international police officers off traditional tasks such as protecting the public, which pays them, to acting as cops for the cartel, which doesn’t.
This means they’re also able to tap into tax-payer funded corporate police resources of all kinds to fulfil purely corporate objectives.
Their victims, meanwhile, are always ordinary men and women and even young children, people who don’t even begin to have the financial or legal resources to take on Warner Music (America), EMI (Great Britain), Sony BMG (Japan and Germany) and Vivendi Universal (France) in open court where lawyers argue with lawyers while other lawyers preside.
The Big Four have numerous so-called trade associations around the world supposedly acting for the hundreds of separate corporate labels which together, comprise the vast, multi-billion-dollar record industry.
The trade bodies have names such as the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), BAMP (Bulgarian Association of Music Producers), CAPIF (CÃ¡mara Argentina de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas), CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association of America), SNEP (Syndicat National de l’Edition Phonographique), Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Arabia SOREMA (Sound Recordings and Multimedia Association), and literally scores more, not to mention Hungary’s MAHASZ (Magyar HanglemezkiadÃ³k SzÃ¶vetsÃ©ge).
But just as the Big Four in one way or another own, or directly or indirectly control, the many supposedly separate record labels, they also to all intents and purposes own and control the so-called trade associations.
They spend millions of dollars pumping out the message that they’re being “devastated” (their word) by file sharers under the wholly unsupported assertion that a file shared equals a sale lost, and the attacks on their own customers around the world are all part of one huge, and blackly cynical, operation under which they’re striving to gain total control over how, and by whom, music is distributed online.
Nagy spotted Recording Industry vs The People‘s Ray Beckerman through his slashdot Q&A and sent him a letter. “It is clear that these folks in Hungary are way ahead of us in thinking this problem through, and in organizing the resistance, and that we have much to learn from them,” says Beckerman.
And here’s the message from Nagy to people who, like him, are being victimized by the Big Four Organized Music cartel:
Let me inform you that there are others, in other countries, who are fighting the same fight you are.
In particular, we have established a self-defense fund called Elite Defense in Hungary that provides legal assistance to those attacked by RIAA’s Hungarian subsidaries. We are providing this service in partnership with an attorney, who actually does the legal representation. His name is dr. Zsolt Dallos. I would like to share our experiences with you in order to avoid reinventing the wheel (by either of us).
Hungarian law with respect to file sharing is more similar to that of Canada than that of the US. On top of that, we have a legal system based on code law rather than common law. This alters the tactics of our adversaries as well as that of most effective defense, but I still think that some of our experience may be useful to you and vice versa.
For instance, I find that the main weapon of the copyright-mafia is intimidation and scare tactics. The actual number of cases is relatively low (compared to the number of people actively involved in file-swapping), but they try to give each one of them big publicity in order to scare the rest of us. Consequently, the actual risk of a person being sued is far
smaller than what the copyright-mafia would want us to believe. This, in turn, implies that there’s a market for insurance-like services: for a modest monthly fee (approx. $1/month), we provide free legal representation and a T-shirt (saying: “they wanted to fine me for file-swapping, but all I got was this lousy T-shirt”) to those attacked. The T-shirt is actually very important: instead of being something shameful, it shows resistance to these lawsuits to be something to be proud of, which is very important in defeating their very purpose.
Another very important activity of ours is that of countering the record industry’s false propaganda. As you have written, the formation of the legal framework is still in progress, thus public opinion matters a lot. It is very important to show the world that it is we, not they, that have the moral and legal high ground. We organize public debates with the representatives of the copyright-mafia on university campuses, where we expose the immoral and hypocritical behavior of these guys, which is motivated by greed and nothing else. Here are some powerful arguments that have been made in these debates:
There is a difference between music and a recording thereof. The recording industry has actually robbed many musicians of an opportunity to make money by playing music: in many places (pubs, markets, skating rinks, etc.) where there was (diverse) live music (for centuries!), now we can only listen to (the same) recorded music. It is more cost-effective for the recording monopolies to hand-pick a small number of performers making them superstars and flooding the whole world with the same (often very shallow) music than to allow for greater cultural diversity. Thereby, they are inflicting enormous damage to humanity’s cultural heritage.
There is no better advertising for a musician, than the recording of their performance. If recordings are circulating freely and the music is good, people will notice and demand that music. Now, the recording industry wants to rob musicians of this potent, yet low-cost, marketing tool in order to maintain their control over the tastes of people and to keep the number of popular musicians as low as they can. The overwhelming majority of musicians are actually benefiting from file-sharing, and file-sharing allows for making money by means other than seeking the favors of recording monopolies.
Music copyright has killed folk music. How many folk-songs do you know from the second half of the 20th century? That is because the recording industry has made copyright the only way for musicians to make money. The tradition of taking a song and performing it according to one’s own tastes, which lies at the basis of folk-music, was rendered unprofitable and thus almost extinct.
In countries where music copyright is not enforced (Russia is a prime example), there are many more live performances. Even the most popular bands need to tour the country and give concerts in order to earn their living. And guess what, they usually make their mp3′s available for download right on their websites for free, because that’s how they lure people to performances. That is, from the society’s point of view, a far better situation that what you have in America and other countries with zealously enforced music copyright.
The marginal costs of making another copy of a recording is, for all practical purposes, zero. This is reflected in the fact that Universal Music is now offering free downloads. At this point, the claimed damage per shared song should be closer to $0, than to the RIAA’s standard $750 (there is a different figure in Hungary, but that’s not relevant in your case).
(Cheers, Ray, and Cheers Daniel)