The Morals and Outcomes of File Sharing

Many moons ago, I read a short Sci-Fi story in a paperback book I’d bought called

Business as Usual, During Alterations by Ralph Williams

The book is a 1972 Pan edition of an earlier compilation by Damon Knight called “100 Years of Science Fiction” and is well worth a read if you can get a copy.  I’ve just re-read it.

Vintage Pye Turntable

Vintage Pye Turntable

Briefly, the story was written in the late fifties when the height of electronics sophistication was an auto-changing record player.  Ralph Williams sets the time slightly earlier and has aliens dropping a replication machine on Earth as a means to destabilise the economy of the world and thus make it easier to conquer.

Richard S Fuld - alien?

Richard S Fuld - alien?

(As an aside, maybe Richard S Fuld is an alien as he’s certainly made a good job of destabilising economies.  There’s far too much testosterone in his face for anyone’s good )

So far so good.  What happens next is an analysis of events where the machine can copy anything, even itself.  Cash is copyable and thus becomes valueless as do washing machines and ALL consumer goods.  Even art.

Visa Credit CardThe only thing of value is the original (copied) article.   Credit cards become the currency of commerce as the bank account can’t be copied as it’s a virtual mathematical entity  (so even if the credit card is copied, it’s still attached to the same account).  Society is assumed not to break down in the story, after the initial hiatus generated.

Here are a few links that mention the story that I’ve found:

The story has interesting parallels with our modern world where all creative works can now be easily copied by any skill-less person.  In that respect, it is a true future story as when it was written, there was no internet or anything remotely like it!

I’ve mentioned a few times my opinions about folk who post our work as Crawling Chaos willy-nilly onto the web under the guise of “spreading the good news” or whatever. These people think that they are somehow invisible on the web, despite all the news articles of people (mostly sex-fiends so far, granted) being caught purely from their on-line activities.  Somehow, they fail to correlate their actions with the events around themselves.  They will use the immense power of modern computing outwards but amazingly believe that it’s a one way wire and they cannot affect their surroundings!    Like infants, they are not connected to the real world.

But Now, the forces of big business are slowly being marshalled, like the awakening of a slumbering giant, and they, and us, will eventually see that their actions have cut off all our noses to spite their faces….

Here are Real succumbing to pressure today. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7656372.stm

This article tells how this is happening.  What it fails to point out is how.  The insidious method is explained here; http://www.p2pnet.net/story/17146 and it really will balloon out in use, of that I’m sure.    The spanner in the file sharing works has a real name of DPI – deep packet inspectionThis looks at all the information going in and out of everyone’s computer.  When combined with ever increasing computing and storage power and live geographical mapping it will make the UK TV Detector Vans look archaic!

As such it’s a very worrying thing for us all, especially when it gets into the hands of paranoid governments and megalomaniacs…

…but also by large internet companies who also own copyright material!  It’s the usual suspects,  I don’t need to spell them out, but the umbrella organisation is here; http://www.artsandlabs.com

Fish around and enjoy the company speak!  See how the use of words subtly disguises the fiendish devilment, like here as well; http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/index.cfm?newsid=104929 ( In this example they are using the technology to suppress “net pollution” )  Ha Ha!   Roll on big brother and ID cards.

So thanks twat file sharers.  In your quest for “freedom of expression and action” you’ve cut off your noses to spite your face.  You are not part of society and I don’t blame you.  You are society.  And your actions are part of the general malaise that seeks to make us all, less free.

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6 responses .

  1. Strangely says:

    ..of course; people who don’t understand any of the technical stuff are in a bit of a quandry. They see only persecution or comfort, giggles or moans.
    But just because ignorance of the power of technology leaves one blissfully happy, doesn’t mean that changes will not happen.
    For example:
    The people of Pompei were blissfully unaware of the volcano they were sat on and the mechanisms of plate tectonics – but they still perished, horribly, when Vesuvius erupted.

  2. Snargles says:

    Don’t you think all this was going to happen anyway?.Any excuse will be made to tighten the grip by the powers that be regardless…There is good & bad within file sharing,some people release material for that specific purpose,and of course there are plenty of bad apples who just take without ever putting anything back.I personally would not be aware of Crawling Chaos had it not have

  3. Snargles says:

    for a glowing account of the music from a certain blog.And had I not been able to hear and enjoy it,my interest would have ended there.Maybe an audience is important,maybe not.
    i do look forward to future news regarding CC and if
    i see an album in the shops,I’ll definately get one.Hopefully they become available in
    Houston. sincerely,Snargles

  4. Strangely says:

    @Snargles.
    I think you are right in that the changing technologies coupled with the inate behaviour of everyone (inc. me!!) to get something for nothing gives a high probability for the current things we see as described in my post.
    However, that doesn’t make it right.
    Also, however, in a constantly changing world where people make their own rules, I can accept the fact that what was once right, no matter now right it is, is disregarded as inapplicable law by everyone. I’m thinking of the still extant law that taxi-cabs have to have a bale of hay – for the horse – as an example of this.
    Where we all find ourselves now is at a crossroads of competing national, globalisation, oppressive and freedom-loving forces across the globe. File sharing of copyright material is part of this, and yes, I can see both sides of the argument, but it doesn’t mean that I have to give in.

    I think there is a long way to go before some international “rules” are worked out. There are too many vested interests for that, and as part of my post mentioned, the technolgy can be used to fight back by these vested interests.
    I also think that everything (not just the internet), is connected. So what may seem obvious or a natural consequence of an action, can have far-reaching effects far beyound the action’s original scope.
    I’m particulary thinking of the vast machine that is China, typically quiet as it expands it’s operations, mostly under state control, while we in the west frantically consume all manner of things from underpants to cracked software. For domains like XIN-NET that operate with impunity in our “free market” of the WWW, it’s a robbers charter. Copyright music is just a tiny part of a bigger scheme.
    This is what I mean when I call the system a “malaise”. Current behaviour, I think, will have profound effects on our society, and really it’s that, maybe 2 to 3 decades forward, that I’m most worried about. Jack Boots stomping down the main street of Houston and Bridgwater, imprisonment without trial on the say-so of a screen-watching automaton, these are things that I can see happening from the continual erosion of our rights.
    Whether or not Crawling Chaos sell a few more tunes, in that context, is neither here nor there.

    Thanks for your comment Snargles. It helped me think. Also, I think that there was a glitch in the Matrix – your comment was chopped in two ;-)

  5. Strangely says:

    The latest news doing the rounds is that the EU have made a trans-European law to allow police to hack into anyone’s computer, like here say:
    Police can hack into home computers remotely

    The nice policeman said “safeguards are in place to ensure the powers are only used in suitable situations”, which is what I’ve been banging on about all the time – HOW DO YOU KNOW? WHO DECIDES? WHO DECIDES WHAT IS RIGHT?

    What the plod will do is plant a file on your PC to open it up, just like virus or trojan. They’ve asked the anti-virus vendors to “not detect” their presence and the vendors have all “apparently” said “NO WAY!”

    But again, How Would You Know?

    This is all done under RIPA in the UK.

    One argument against it that the AV people use is that an open back door can be used by criminals in the same way as the police want to use it. After all, if you know there’s an open door somewhere, all you have to do is find it and walk through.

    My argument of course, is that it’s a crushing erosion of freedom and should be resisted at all costs, even personal safety. The future of the free world is at stake here.

    • Strangely says:

      This is (part of) the the view on the subject from noted anti-virus vendor ESET, a Romanian bunch who make the excellent NOD32 I’ve mentioned on this site previously.
      There are two postings:

      Magic Lantern Show in the UK?, which mentions the fact that the term “policeware” is used for this type of software
      Self-Protection Part 10, which mentions how media files (mp3 etc) can be cracked and a link inserted into the file header to call the mothership and download more crap onto your PC!

      Funnily enough, someone at work brought a PC in for us to “have a look at”. They swear they don’t do anything dodgy but the PC won’t call home to AVG to get it’s updates, or cannot be connected to ANY antivirus website for an online scan…..funny eh?

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