Quest Means Business   « Back to Blog Main
April 17, 2009
Posted: 1023 GMT

Quick update - I am surprised that the court in Sweden has jailed the four men from Pirate Bay for copyright infringment ... talk about sending a strong deterrent message. We didn't hear all the evidence so don't know the facts (such as how calculating they were in what they were doing) but to send someone to jail ... that's serious stuff.

An appeal will be lodged.

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Filed under: Business •Crime •Quest Means Business

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kashif ali khan   April 17th, 2009 10:28 am ET

these pirates are getting more and more active everyday. They should be punished and the waters should be guarded by a join force like nato or something. This is a very big problem,

Craig Eyles   April 17th, 2009 11:09 am ET

Have to be honest, it's the law & they know the warnings of doing such a thing. We used to see it on all the video tapes we used to hire. Question is what happens to YouTube??
Again, to be honest, used it once out of sheer desperation. Trying to purchase a DVD for my Dads birthday in February & no store I went to had it. It was an old movie, so I had it copied.
If these organizations can run with a signed agreement much like Aust Pay-TV, it could work.
Pay-TV cannot screen a movie until "x" amount of months after the DVD release of the movie.
Then, there is no way to squirm on appeal if you get caught like Pirate Bay did.
What do you think?? Can this economically & legally work??

Vlad D.A.   April 17th, 2009 11:14 am ET

@kashif ali khan

I really hope you are trying to be funny! (if you are LOL!) if not than you should try to think a bit more before writing anything.
If an economic model fails it has to be updated or changed altogether. Big majors coudn't keep up with the internet revolution, so they used their influence to create laws that "protected" them. Some on the other hand innovated and were succesful like iTunes, but most of them still think they can keep a 60 year old model alive today, and it's just not going to happen! there are just too many sites like TPB, and more are created every month, to think that you can close them down and arrest everyone is ridiculous.

Matt   April 17th, 2009 11:22 am ET

Those pirates are pretty nasty indeed. Kidnapping captains and such, they should definitely go to jail.

Copyright infringers, on the other hand, are just acting naturally.

Maybe they should consider how to change the law so content producers (everyone from musicians to you Richard!) can make money in a world where sharing is virtually free and impossible to stop.

tvnewswatch   April 17th, 2009 11:26 am ET

Serious stuff! Maybe. The 'pirates' will appeal and in Swedish law they won't have to serve their sentence until all appeals are exhausted. There is some naivity from producers of digital media [whether music, fims or software] in thinking they have absolute control over it once released into the public domain. Young people particularly are the targets for this media, but many have few financial resources to purchase the material. Before file sharing with sites like Napster, teenagers taped music off the tv, radio and swapped recordings from friends records collection. As the internet came to the fore and media became digital sharing music and films has become easier and of higher quality. While it could be argued that the downloading of such material IS theft; it is arguable to suggest that the companies are losing money. Many of the downloaders would be unlikely to purchase the CD, DVD or game anyway. CDs are way over priced. After reaping back recording costs, companies should reduce the price significantly. As a teenager I possessed about 30 singles and less than a dozen LPs as well as a large collection of tapes. Singles cost about 75p in 1977 and LPs more than £3. Those prices have increased significantly and its unsurprising that youngsters share and download MP3s for free. Over ten years or more I have built up a large CD collection of some 300 titles which would cost in excess of £3000. What teenager could afford that? Similarly my more than 200 DVDs would also exceed an average teenager's pocket money allowance for several years. Simply put the media companies are waving a rather large carrot at the proverbial donkey. It's temptation beyond endurance for those with little money. For those with more money it's easier to spend the £15 for the CD or DVD

D   April 17th, 2009 11:44 am ET

@Vlad D.A. what @kashif ali khan is talking about are the Pirates off the coast of Somalia...
@kashif ali khan wrong topic here... this is about Internet Piracy!

Javier   April 17th, 2009 12:03 pm ET

I'm all for law-abiding citizens and all and when a few people break the law, they need to pay for that. However, when millions of citizens, constantly, undeterrently, break a law passed in a different era, it must mean that this law has got to be changed.

MarieAnne Sam - Alabang, Philippines   April 17th, 2009 1:00 pm ET

It is very prevalent in Asia -- hi-tech piracy that is. Technology, simply put, is very easy to copy...also a very lucrative business.

You cannot blame those that engage on this -- its easy money and they have a 'market'. Why would one spend US$10 on an original copy when you can get the same at US$1 for a 'pirated' one! Very practical!

Take those Oscar nominated movies. While it underwent 'reviews' in the States, a lot of copies are already available in the black market. They even have 'blu rays'!

It is just proper then that these 'hi-tech pirates' be nailed! The world should also set international laws to protect records and movie producers from these bandits!

daskey   April 17th, 2009 2:02 pm ET

I, too, was surprised by the jail terms, and not terribly happy about it, since it looks more like railroading to please business than anything else. The German publisher's trade association (the Börsenverein) has followed this case closely, and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that they have materially supported the prosecution in some fashion. I imagine that they are sitting in their offices today in fabulously good moods downing glass after glass of celebratory bubbly.

I teach media business models to future publishers and media managers, and the fact that they cannot see the glaring discrepancy between their future career pursuit–making money off of content via various channels–and their own behavior with various media, which involves a lot of illegal or at least unethical sharing and, yes, stealing, cracks me up. As others have said here and elsewhere, fighting this out in the courts and sending statements is not going to alter human behavior all that much.

Clearly, most content owners lack for creative ideas when it comes to making money in a digital world, and instead have grasped for the strongest legal means to stem the inexorable onslaught. It's not going to work.

Lisa Cash   April 17th, 2009 2:33 pm ET

Seems to be an ever present seasonal dilemma.

Peter Vaz   April 17th, 2009 3:13 pm ET

Mr.Quest you are too sharp with your economic stunts, dragging the commenter's from the Pirate Bay to the high seas of Somalia. Yes.. Yes Captain Sam is now drifting back to his homeland and those dead pirates appeared in the Swedish courts. Poor Chaps, grilled at a uncertain economic times! After all for "Contents it from the barrel of air pistol?.... Now you judge Mr. Quest > Piracy is Privacy< If so then both the reader and writer should be held responsible. If the author feels robbed by the end user then it's the author's mistake because he or she must know the rudiments of internet marketing strategy.... and the monsters or pirates. Are there no alternatives to internet to sell product? Hard economic times and the excellent route to hell is" to nail the pirates"....use 1 trillion dollar password to protect the " site treasury safe". Court's too are reeling under depressions judging for money...hard cash...along with pirates.

Dr. Ana Penteado   April 17th, 2009 3:53 pm ET

Richard –

I am looking forward to hearing from the appealing arguments. We ask for courts to do their job legally , this is what the Swedish court accomplished. Freedom of speech is important, however, if someone is the author of a determined content, she/he should be recognized as such. In this decision there is more legal elements that we have to watch for. People that facilitate an illegal activity should be aware of their risks. That is a bit of common sense. If the artist wishes to made available their work – then they are free to do so. Contract it out his/her rights to make available parts of their work or the full body. Then selling will not be possible, because the entertainment industry works with the element of surprise – novelty and investment. If it is not novel why should anyone buy it? If it is for free why should I buy it? People should be asking these questions instead of 'making a romance' of free internet. There is nothing as free lunch unless someone relinquishes their right.

Peter Vaz   April 17th, 2009 4:44 pm ET

Can someone on earth arrest the Indian smuggler Mr. Dawood Ibrahim, involved in the piracy racket of CD's,DVD's,VCD's and net piracy? Yes he is operating from Pakistan under the name of "D Company" with foundations in UAE. It's a multi million dollar business of piracy and bollywood funding including sharing or downloading information to Al Qaida or drug cartels. Is there any court of Justice on earth to prosecute this monster? I challenge even Mr. Quest if he has guts to speak about this rascal....pirate. Not those Bay's pity or else the publishers please hide your contents under the pillows.

Chuck   April 17th, 2009 5:52 pm ET

Taking under examination what is actually occurring vs. the letter of the law. They are not prosecuting because of the illegal distribution (because there is no distribution) of their property. They are prosecuting on the grounds that they are losing income as an after effect of the distribution facilitated by the website. They don't care about the actual crime only its repercussions. This is something that is more civil law than criminal law. In civil court they would have to prove that there is an actual loss of income, that those that recieved the goods would have purchased them if not for the illegal distribution.

What court would touch this? There is no evidence or other proof that money has been lost. The only thing they can prove is that by facilitating the distribution of the goods that Pirate Bay is doing business in a manner that is dependent on the use of trademarks and service marks owned by others. Again not criminal but civil.

This is nothing more than a scare tactic that will be forgotten in the same manner as "illegal 8 track recording", "bootleg cassettes", "dat machines record too well" , "stop burning CDs of CDs", "camcorders have overly high quality". After the downloading of files is forgotten about the next fight will be illegal direct streaming of copyrighted materials on encrypted networks. And again the entertainment industry will get it wrong by trying to prosecute the inventors of the networks and encryption.

Ronnie   April 17th, 2009 6:21 pm ET

The question of access to information (art, science) ought to be extended to the costs for reading scientific articles, currently controlled by "journals". Researchers, scientists, authors are not paid for the articles, nor are we "scientific peer reviewers" paid for our services-why then do the journals have a monopoly on access to the research findings and articles? shouldn't science be available to those who are interested, without profit (about 75USD per issue) to journal publishing companies? If science ought to be available, why not art? doesn't our support of the giants "right" to profit only support increasing monopolies over who controls truth and beauty? By not allowing sharing don't we just re-create "too big to fail"- continuing to privilege the big guys over the little guys-By the way, calling sharing stealing-is like calling cooperation "cheating"–a sad by-product of capitalist logic- why can't we see open access as transparency, and sharing information as democratic?

thanks for listening,
Prof. Blakeney, Switzerland

Robbie Kay   April 17th, 2009 6:52 pm ET

Can I share my car with friends and family? Yes.
Can I share my property with friends and family? Yes
Therefore, Yes, I can definitely share my software with friends and family over the web! Afterall, the world is a global family, right?
If the software companies are losing out, then they should catch up with technology!

Eagle de Botton   April 17th, 2009 6:56 pm ET

Hello Mr' Quest

I like you style, and I like the way you present the topics.
I don't like it at all, that you end every broadcast with the Fraze
"what ever you do, hope it is profitable".

This shows that you value money and profit more then
goodness and human. It give a wrong message and serve as
steps backward instead of step forward towards conscious evolution.

Do you understand what I am talking about, Richard?

If not, I will be happy to explain.

Take care
Eagle de Botton

Gary Prince   April 17th, 2009 7:02 pm ET

Dear Richard

Pirate copying versus Anti-competitive practises

Thesis statement:- Pirate copying of copywrite protected products should be evaluated in relation to the free-trade practises of the company owning the copyrights.

In other words, if a company is in a position (for example a monopoly) where-by it can demand excessive prices for its copywrited product, then the only just and righteous way for consumers to achieve a fair price is by illegal downloading or copying.

In conclusion a consumer is only guilty of illegal infringement of copywrite laws if there is a situation of perfectly free trade.

Example:- Record company production during the 90’s and the beginning of the 21 st. century was defined by a lack of competitiveness between companies. The price of all CDs was the same in all shops and in all countries with similar incomes/capita.

Record companys could easily have begun a legal process of downloading music files, at greatly reduced prices many years ago, but decided that they would instead steal money form the CD purchasing public. Still today record companys continually cheat their own customers by demanding excessive prices for downloads (seen in relation to costs).

Everyone knows how much a CD costs to produce – and everyone knows how much record companies are stealing from them.

The only resort open to the public is illegal downloading of the very same CDs, thus forcing (as proven by history) the companies to change their business procedures.

Anton   April 17th, 2009 7:03 pm ET

How is the price of the CD/DVD/blue rays determined? I think that the current way contradicts the free market system. Shouldn't the price be determined by bid and ask prices? Moreover the price of intellectual property of any given CD is no more then $1(or even less), then why on earth am i supposed to pay $10? It ridiculous.

Anton   April 17th, 2009 7:09 pm ET

It would be interesting to know how many instances of some video is being played compared with the number of them bought. If the former is less then the latter then all illegal copies are legal. 🙂

Anton   April 17th, 2009 7:16 pm ET

Here is Moscow (maybe this applies to other cities as well) some practice the following: after they read a book they leave it on a bench (or in some over place) in the city. Whoever finds it obviously can legally read the book, he can even keep it, but usually he does the same, that is he leaves the book in some place in the city (maybe some eatery). And so the process goes on...

I guess you can do the same with the CD and DVD, moreover you can do it on line, so that people can find it on the internet. I don't see the difference. So it's perfectly legal to download CD/DVD from the internet.
This is like if you borrow a CD from a friend.

Rosie Deus-von Homeyer   April 17th, 2009 7:36 pm ET

Copyright infringment does NOt require an INTENT,Richard,therefore

you ought not to say"how calculating were they".

JUST the unauthorised use constitutes infringement.

Unlike as Fraud Copyright infringement does not require

an "economical loss".

Charles ampofo   April 17th, 2009 7:42 pm ET

1 year for piracy is mockery of justice, to serve as a deterrent offenders should be jailed for a minimum of 5 years to send out a strong message.

Tazzdevill   April 18th, 2009 11:52 am ET

kashif ali khan, are you serious? This comment shows exactly why there is so mush confusion concerning "pirating."
I am familiar with Pirate Bay and what it has to offer. I am also familiar with the movie / music industry's claim to fame.
At some point, everyone gets tired of getting gassed for a little entertainment. For my family of 6 (various ages), it would cost over $100 to go to the movies. And most, sadly, aren't worth the dollar that discount theaters charge. Solution: stop idolizing and over paying the actors and executives. Now the music industry: I have sampled tracks online, before purchasing a cd. Is that bad of me? I don't think so. Its like an investment I am making. Sampling the music / movie prevents me from making an expensive purchase of a crappy cd, hurriedly marketed by greedy labels.

unish the Pirate Bay? No, commend them for allowing everyone an opportunity to get entertainment!

!kant   April 18th, 2009 6:11 pm ET

It is NOT a deterant for those that continue to "illegally" share content. This was the ploy the RIAA would have hoped happened with all the more 10+ years of fighting these actions–did it in any anyway slow the capacity of "consumer" downloads??...NO!! only fuel it's burning popularity [and POPULATION]...

It's funny, when we used to purchase LP's and recorded them to cassettes ( to share with our friends), we did NOT hear a peep out of the RIAA or artists. But instead of embracing the FANS and working with them, lets just [try to sue] and incriminate them–ALL the millions [of us].

Support For Pirate Bay....


Abdulla Latheef   April 18th, 2009 7:32 pm ET

I would say, that cyber crimes are getting worse day by day, so needs to ensue that others rights are fully protected. Strict punishments to be given those who fails to comply cyber laws.

Mihai   April 19th, 2009 12:04 pm ET

The truth is somewhere in the middle.

Of course, illegal downloading means stealing (and I've had my losses with it). And it's not that "I'm stealing it cause it is too expensive to buy it", as there is always the equilibrium between supply and demand that makes the prices (sometimes, so high). Prices of DVDs and CDs reflect that equilibrium.

The issue here is not that they (PirateBay owners) downloaded material, is that they continued to allow sharing of illegal files, knowingly and deliberately. YouTube and the likes had to remove lots of content.

It's like a thief in your neighbourhood, he tells you "I won't steal from you, I'll steal from your neighbour" and then you go to bed smiling and being proud of what you did. That's how PirateBay owners acted (and that's how most torrent sites owners think).

I guess that because it is not a material thing, people don't relate to it the same way as they relate to, say, a car or a house.

And I guess that many people in this world don't have anything important to say or perform, so they don't quite understand what it means to work on a text for weeks, months, years, just to see that your work is not appreciated. 'Work' is not the same as 'open source'.

Donna   April 19th, 2009 2:14 pm ET

Stealing is stealing. Just because you find it on the internet doesn't make it legal or right.

george m   April 19th, 2009 5:11 pm ET

I think they are trying to control them vikings , all i know is one of them tried to sell me one of their tastless lobsters telling me "its from maine " i told him its not from there " its from norway " p.s. i just like them swe dish blonde woman they can copyright left and put me in a pot and cook me

Eagle de Botton   April 20th, 2009 1:13 am ET

Again; It is all because of corrupt values. Corrupt values are created by education, and our very sweet Richard Quest is a big influential factor, contributing for the creation of corrupt values. "what ever you are up to, make sure it is profitable" say the man over and over again. So, it is like a brain wash and people steal, because it is indeed, profitable....

Peter Vaz   April 20th, 2009 7:17 am ET

We are lodging an Appeal! with you Mr. Quest…..we need your program business hours extended or continue until Saturday.These are depression days and why to punish those pirates? We have lost jobs, penniless and the courts have no mercy on us to download the free stuff…at least we get our minds out of recession rather than food depressions. Can you atleast keep us busy with your Quest program? Hell promise…we will not download your Quest program….but keep us awake even on weekends.

toby   April 21st, 2009 2:56 am ET

A lot of people are quick to say "stealing is stealing". It makes one feel strong to know a certainty. It feels good. But none of you can articulate the crucial elements of theft, the crime. For theft to occur, a person must be deprived of something. The moral dimension requires a victim, or the criminal law becomes a means of enforcing economic power.

When people share, the only victim is the person who claims that they have lost profits. But can anyone really say "I have lost that which i do not have yet!"? Is that logical, let alone reasonable?

Technology is wonderful, and the men and women who made phonograph records possible, by advancing science for no reward at universities and in small shops across the world, all of these faceless people create the technology that gave the gift of vast sums of money to the shareholders of media corporations. And with the phonograph, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of musicians lost their livelihoods. Everytime someone sold a phonograph player, they were "stealing" the future profits of musicians. who previously played live music for money.

But nobody cared. This was progress. This was technology moving forward, creating opportunity for some, due to the wisdom of others, who got no reward, and causing loss to a great many people who were displaced by the new technology.

So that was the history of technology, when the history of technology made the shareholders of large media corporations incredibly rich.

Now technology moves forward again, and this time it taketh away from the same shareholders. Now technology gives back the power of entertainment to ordinary people, and allows people to share information across the globe, for almost no cost. Technology and the wisdom of others is being combined to deprive one group of future profits, and enrich another group.

But this time...... this time the people who are losing their profits have decided that the history of technology is something they control. They have so much money, they can influence political parties. Political parties have so much power, they can influence judges.

And so now the normal progression of technology has resulted in a new crime being defined: the crime of depriving a mega wealthy shareholder of their future profits.

You DARE NOT share. You DARE NOT treat property or information as your own.

You are nothing. Your knowledge is nothing. It is owned, and the people who own it, they will send men with guns to lock you up if they feel they have lost the profits that the future has put aside for them.

We have a new crime: sharing with the possibility of depriving a shareholder of their rightful profits in the future.

I hope that judge dies in very great pain, after suffering for many years. What that court has done is an abomination of morals and law. They have created corporate feudalism with chains and prison, where previously they had been content to let people wander from job to job on a subsistence wage. We have entered a dark age, when future profits are the rightful property of men, enforcable by the criminal law.

Taiwan   April 21st, 2009 7:23 am ET

Well, speaking of piracy in whatever form is a serious offense if I may add not on the context of being illegal per se but on the pretext that it endangers the high quality of service any company makes in providing to quality-conscious or not so people or perhaps unmindful of being provided a shoddy products just to earn. It's damaging many lives compare to benefitting a few of those who do it raking in more money & leaving anything in pillage after it passes through like a raging storm. Just take for example on pirated movies or musics, by supporting or buying these forms can be equated simply to supporting the doomsday of good quality of musics & movies that can only be given by those who've work hard & had come along way to make it possible to the consumers not even counting the many causes that those entities have impacted on their respective communities as well in global perspective. Remember, you're killing the industry & all its branches that come with it. It may not happen until or within our lifetime but surely, it will if people would continue patronizing any form of piracy or ignoring this problem. Though, in reality I could not afford to purchase randomly whatever I want for It's quite expensive & sometimes often than not could drain your pocket esp. in my case so to say, but I urge everyone to be sensible in buying or purchasing things. It's really heartbreaking for people to just ignore the fact & go over of getting advantage to the weakness of others or may it be just taking patience of not getting even & let it just happened the way it' was intentionally that is, depriving the rights of people or the next generation for a very good quality of services or products. So, if we can't go get after them then don't patronize those products instead because sometimes, it proliferates out of a certain kind of beaucracry. It makes sense, right? That's the small way a consumer can make a difference if nobody would stand before you or maimed to complain. That's why many corporate companies in other countries don't like the idea of free trade because they would loose the very competition that surely besets them esp. speaking on quality goods & how a company does business in relation to our environmental needs as well, letting me go this far but needless to say, ...

What we can do is educate the people around us. Let's start with our family members or close kins, church friends, classmates, social or close-knit friends & other people whom we can influence upon. Actually, the list could go further on if we have the desire too.

Make a difference! Let's not spoil our freedom of choice but with utmost sensibility & understanding of the very reality ground that we, as consumers have grown to be fully aware of what's in & out around us.

Gail Ellis Duncan   April 21st, 2009 11:51 am ET

Tricky subject. Yes, everyone wants to be paid for their work. Yes, the law must be clear what can be shared and what can't. Yes, many people around the globe during these trying times can not avoid entertainment to get their minds off their troubles and are thankful for downloads. Yes, I know many who cut their cable and pay for view so they can pay for food and other bills. The plot will thicken folks. All I know is music, theater, film and tv shows are needed right now to somehow (if the shows are good) uplift our mood.

Tomas   April 21st, 2009 8:41 pm ET

Yes piracy is wrong. ............
While half of the world is hungry and few people can make in a few minutes what for others is a fantasy. Piracy will disappear when greed disappears. Why should we pay US 9.00 for a CD when the real price is less than a dollar. I think the music and movie world have to revalue their values. The message is clear. .......
Because of greed our economy is in shambles. Why should Madona make millions per concert, and some people have wages of 25 cents per week. Is it fair.
That is why piracy exist....................

Xeres   April 23rd, 2009 1:27 am ET

I'm a nitwit when it comes to piracy. . Historically speaking, one can only steal when properties are divided, assumed a privilege to one as rather to all. This was not always the case, or ancestors didn't have to knock on their neighbour and ask for approval to pick some apples. Properties were unknown. I say this, because I heard you say, "why would anyone assume it's not theft." From a ancient view, I thought this would be a fun one.

Myself, I hardly did piracy, as new movies downloading, selling and so on. I have copied mine for others, I have a illegal video, because it wasn't available on VCR(yes, long time ago), a bootleg CD from a concert, but let's face it, it's not like I could buy that legally or slump their sales in any way. Those I like should be paid for amusing me and I don't mind paying for it. It does mean, I don't buy as much as I used to. For this I thinks prices are outrageously high and I think only a few are paid for their efforts at a fair wage.

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