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A Glimpse At Piracy In the UK and Beyond

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the bigbrother-now-with-fun-graphs dept.

Music 132

Zocalo writes "The BBC has a fascinating look into the music download habits of the UK population based on stats compiled by Musicmetric. The stats, gathered through the monitoring of BitTorrent swarms and geo-locating the IPs, shows the hotspots for music copyright infringement across the UK and regional preferences for certain types of music. Some of the outliers are somewhat unusual though, suggesting some problems with the methodology or sample size, unless people on the Isle of Wight really do prefer trumpet-playing crooner Louis Armstrong to the likes of Rihanna and Ed Sheeran who top the lists nationwide. Not in the UK? There are some global stats on the ' Most pirated near you? tab' of the story. Better yet, if you want to crunch the numbers for yourself all of the data has been made available at the Musicmatch website under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial ShareAlike license and a RESTful API to access the data (free for non-commercial use, but requiring an API token) is also available."

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The British have a long proud history of piracy (5, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#41369805)

Now take Sir Francis Drake, the Spanish all despise him,
But to the British he's a hero and they idolize him,
It's how you look at buccaneers that makes them bad or good,
And I see us as members of a noble brotherhood.

Hey ho ho - We're honorable men,
And before we lose our tempers we will always count to ten,
On occasion there may be someone you have to execute,
But when you're a professional pirate, you don't have to wear a suit!

Nawvuhn Soul (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370251)

My man.

Re:The British have a long proud history of piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41370437)

Francis Drake was a privateer, not a pirate.

Re:The British have a long proud history of piracy (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#41371797)

Or in more modern terms, a mercinary.

Re:The British have a long proud history of piracy (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#41371809)

Which I just realised I spelled incorrectly.

Re:The British have a long proud history of piracy (2)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372869)

Not the same. You have to pay mercenaries. Privateers get their profits from who they attack.

Privateers were basically pirates that a Government officially allows to rob ships of another country.

Re:The British have a long proud history of piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372523)

Francis Drake was a privateer, not a pirate.

Not according to the Spanish.

Re:The British have a long proud history of piracy (4, Insightful)

rwise2112 (648849) | more than 2 years ago | (#41373239)

I remember reading one time:
The difference between a terrorist, a guerrilla, and a freedom fighter is simply how much we like them

Hmm (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41370571)

I'm confused. Ed Sheeran was born to Irish parents, and a lot of English hate us Irish, or is it just the right-wing side.

Oh, wait a minute, I understand, it's bit torrent. It's a bid to stop Ed from making any money off his talents! :)

I'm not paranoid enuf. Where's my weed?

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41371955)

Yep, the common English person hates the Irish.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41371999)

Rubbish. Have you ever spoken to any Irish girls ? They're absolutely lovely. And the fellas make great drinking companions too :)

Re:Hmm (2)

RaceProUK (1137575) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372883)

When are you returning to the 17th century?

Re:Hmm (1)

techsimian (2555762) | more than 2 years ago | (#41373273)

It's been my experience that everyone hates the English and no one really cares who they hate.

By everyone, I mean, Wales, Ireland & Scotland.

Re:Hmm (4, Informative)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372033)

That's why Dublin is one of the top party destinations for the Brits is it? Its complete bollocks. Any sensible Brit has no problem with the Irish. Most of us are mongrels anyway and many have Irish blood.

Re:Hmm (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372805)

Where do you find sensible Brits?

Not her ein England that's for sure ...

Re:Hmm (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 2 years ago | (#41373251)

There used to be intelligent life in Britain, but I moved to Australia 25 years ago. ;-)

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372133)

Or maybe just those English people who have had family/friends murdered by Irish terrorists.

Re:Hmm (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41373005)

But even those of us who have had problems with Irish terrorism are able to separate the terrorists (and their supporters) with the rest of the population.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372975)

The English don't hate the Irish. We're very often bemused by the Irish, in the same way that you're often bemused by your daft uncle at a wedding.

Re:The British have a long proud history of piracy (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372955)

Privateers/Pirates were government sanctioned and were stealing the Spanish and Portuguese bounty looted from the native Americans

Is government sponsored stealing of already stolen goods still stealing?

Re:The British have a long proud history of piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41373631)

It wasn't really sanctioned - all the time. A lot of the time sanctioned meant that the government turned their head the other way and, if they succeeded, so be it, but they didn't always help.

Mars is uninhabitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41369877)

Very little atmosphere
Freezing cold temperatures
The slightest breach depressurizes the dome
Nothing but a pipe dream
On the brighter side, there are no Republicans there

Link correction (4, Informative)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 2 years ago | (#41369937)

That second link to Musicmetric (incorrectly labelled Musicmatch) for the download of the raw data should actually go here [musicmetric.com] since it's a little hard to find the link on the Musicmetric website. So much for posting comments into the Firehose to help the editors edit, huh? ;)

Re:Link correction (4, Informative)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#41371827)

Since most of the world thinks I am somewhere in the Midlands or North of England on the basis of my IP, but I am in London, I suspect that the geolocation returns the address of one of your (ISP's) data centres, making the data worthless.

Re:Link correction (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372755)

That's true for me too.

Sometimes "it" guesses I'm in the South West of England.

Sometimes "it" uses one of the switches six hops away from me which is in Birmingham.

Re:Link correction (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372989)

All it shows is where your ISP has declared where your current IP is based ...

They only monitored public Torrents, they did not monitor any private torrents, they did not monitor any other file exchange protocols (Music is relatively small and can easily be exchanged without Bittorrent)

Another worthless survey, that seems to show that China and Japan do not share much music (Really!)

Where's China and Russia? (4, Interesting)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370065)

For those too lazy to look. Here's the Top 20 "pirate" countries.

1. United States
2. United Kingdom
3. Italy
4. Canada
5. Brazil
6. Australia
7. Spain
8. India
9. France
10. Philippines
11. Mexico
12. Netherlands
13. Portugal
14. Poland
15. Greece
16. Hungary
17. Chile
18. Romania
19. Sweden
20. Belgium

Interesting is the absence of China and Russia, countries not known for having authoritarian copy laws. Maybe the Chinese and Russians are happier exchanging thumb drives and DVDRs. I would be very worried, if I were Hu and Putin, of all that info that can't be censored or monitored with a few key strokes.

While the presence of India at #8 isn't surprising, given its huge population, somewhat surprising is the presence of smaller Third World countries like Brazil and Philiippines that you don't expect to have the broadband speed necessary for a decent BT download.

Re:Where's China and Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41370171)

India's english speaking population is pretty low (the English music listening population is much much lower). I am surprised it made even to #8.

Re:Where's China and Russia? (4, Informative)

rbprbp (2731083) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370261)

given its huge population, somewhat surprising is the presence of smaller Third World countries like Brazil and Philiippines that you don't expect to have the broadband speed necessary for a decent BT download.

I am Brazilian. Most people here - at least people living in larger cities - have 1 to 5 Mbps internet at home, which is than enough for occasional torrenting (i.e. not leeching/seeding 24/7). People with slower connections use 4shared/Rapidshare/etc... to download a low-quality copy of the movie they want to watch, or a 128k MP3 rip of the CD they want to listen to.

Re:Where's China and Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372397)

in czech republic a slowest hardline internet connection even offered is 10Mbps.. 1-5 is like five years ago.. and it is accessible almost everywhere due to the historic phone wire network.

Re:Where's China and Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41370579)

somewhat surprising is the presence of smaller Third World countries like Brazil and Philiippines that you don't expect to have the broadband speed necessary for a decent BT download.


Re:Where's China and Russia? (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370871)

You need more information for your comments or your list to be an indication of anything. Is it per capita or total offenses is? does this include every nation or just some with data?

You talk about India being a likely candidate, yet Portugal is number 13 with a population of 10.5 million, yet Japan is not listed, is one of the most technologically driven countries on earth, and has more than ten times the people (123 million).This is notable because when you look, it is by total TORRENTS the last six months which makes Japan's absence surprising and notable.

This makes your assumption correct but how should we know?

(I guess RTFing article would help;-))

Re:Where's China and Russia? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41370937)

In China, pirated music an movies are easier to find than the real thing. It's just done via disks and sellers on carts or in shops.

Re:Where's China and Russia? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41371151)

Not a suprise. Brazil is the largest 'leech' country ever. At dirt slow speeds. They don't have the speeds. but they have the numbers. you see them in your swarms uploading at .00000001k/sec

Also many many games out there are crapped up by these people screaming over the mic in whatever giberish that is.
I'm sure they're all very nice offline. But i despise brazilians online. They ruin EVERYTHING. Such complete and utter douchebags on such an epic scale it should be a crime.

It's gotta be something from their culture i just don't understand. But they will go where they are not wanted. Not liked. Not welcome. Asked to leave.
And will never go away. While doing everything they can to make a mess of things on purpose.
Trying to keep brazilians out of a gameserver is almost a full time job. Until you give up and ban that entire part of the world. Sucks for anyone near them down there. It's not their fault. But dammit brazilians ruin online games. And seem to do so on purpose.

Getting stuff for free and ruining it. Seems like a national sport for brazil online. Them being #5 on the list is no suprise at all

Re:Where's China and Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41371389)

Belgium is only 20 ? I'm shocked. Anyway in Belgium copy for private use is legal and you pay taxes on media (hard disks, CDs, DVDs, ...) because of that.

Re:Where's China and Russia? (0)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372269)

Most likely they just arranged these numbers to put pressure on the countries on the list. They know that China and Russia wouldn't do anything anyway.
Still, Brazil has a population of 200 million and the Philippines of 100 million, I wouldn't categorize them as "smaller".

Re:Where's China and Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372277)

somewhat surprising is the presence of smaller Third World countries like Brazil and Philiippines

For sufficiently high values of "small".

Re:Where's China and Russia? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372415)

I think Brazil is bigger, and much of it's population living with much more modern internet connections than you think is the case.

Keep in mind Brazil is hosting both the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. That's not something some small "3rd World" nation can trivially afford to do.

No, Brazil is the 7th biggest economy in the world putting it right behind the UK, some estimates nowadays even putting it as larger than the UK, but certainly making it bigger than Italy, Canada, India, Russia.

Yes, that's right. Brazil has a bigger population and more wealth than even old super powers like the USSR and even the supposed up and coming nations like India. Whilst like the US, Brazil has areas that can be called 3rd world, it seems a bit wrong to call Brazil as a whole either small, or 3rd world, unless you also think countries like Russia are 3rd world too.

I don't think it's suprising to see Brazil there at all, it's a large top 10 major world economy.

Re:Where's China and Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372581)

Brazil has a bigger population and more wealth than even old super powers like the USSR

If you meant to type "smaller population and less wealth" then you would be right.

It's almost meaningless to compare GDP in a free-ish market to GDP in a planned economy. But, since you insisted on doing it, the USSR even in 1990 beats Brazil today.

What Brazil does have going for it is that, like China and the USSR, it tends towards actually growing and building stuff rather than circle-jerk service industries. So I anticipate that it will do very well.

Re:Where's China and Russia? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372931)

Meh, apologies, I meant to say Russia, not USSR - i.e. population of Russia is 141million vs. 196million for Brazil. I typed USSR because I was referring to it as a superpower, rather than what is now simply just Russia - a mistake I suspect you made yourself in your last sentence.

Re:Where's China and Russia? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372473)

Uh, Brazil's one of the largest countries in the world and its economy (despite poverty and inequality) is in the top 10, and growing...

Re:Where's China and Russia? (2)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372607)

Interesting is the absence of China and Russia, countries not known for having authoritarian copy laws

I don't know what the copyright laws are in China or Russia. But in a hypothetical country where filesharing is legal, there would be no illegal filesharing, by definition.

Re:Where's China and Russia? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372631)

Ok, their metrics are somewhat broken. I had never heard of Billy Van before seeing the metric listing him as the most downloaded artist in India.
Made me think who-tf is he?
So some Google-fu lists this: http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2012/08/how-billy-van-went-from-2000-to-100000-fans-case-study.html
They released a *legit* BitTorrent Bundle. In their own words, "We encouraged the sharing of free music."

So calling every download on BitTorrent illegal is kinda broken. This article wouldn't stand the rigorous validation of the results (It didn't even survive my lousy Google-fu!)

Re:Where's China and Russia? (0)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372785)

Here's my own research:

1. Find a release.
2. Find the torrent.
3. Connect.

4. Realise that there are only 5,000 seeds/peers on the largest torrent site on the internet.

5. Realise 5,000 is a very small number.

On a side note, Avatar, the largest total download ever: Could I find a simple 700mb copy the other day with seeds? Could I bollocks.

Could I pay for a simple 700mb copy? Could I bollocks.

Piracy. It's all bollocks.

Re:Where's China and Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41373221)

It's interesting how closely the media piracy rates correlate with the media production rates. The UK and USA are huge producers of original recorded media, and pirate the most too.

Re:Where's China and Russia? THEY ARE EVEN WORSE. (4, Informative)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 2 years ago | (#41373275)

I spend a considerable amount of time and Russia and Ukraine on business. Let's put it this way: ALL THERE IS in Russia and Ukraine is piracy. Let me give you some examples.

- you can go down to the corner shop and buy DVDs and CDs of your favorite movies, music, and/or games. They are all pirated, and professionally so.
- companies that sell legitimate entertainment products last about a week in most places before they close for lack of sales.
- even large electronics outlets sell pirated goods
- use of torrent is extremely widespread
- you'd be hard pressed to find anybody under 20 who has ever legitimately paid for music or games, ever. and i really mean that.
- a major university in ukraine that i know of has on its campus intranet a 400+TB system exclusively for piracy. I mean, university set up, where people upload movies, music, games, software, etc. this is actually a university function that they figure saves them on outgoing bandwidth.
- the first thing people do when they buy a new computer is to take it to a local 'repair shop' where for $5-$10 you get a full suite of every application you might want, nicely installed. This practice is extremely widespread.

if you think "fine, because these are disadvantaged countries..'" well, you're only fooling yourself. while the per capita gdp of those countries is somehwat low, it is also highly unequal. the ones with the PCs, ipads, and university educations doing the pirating are highly likely to be quite well off indeed.

the authoritarian laws are there. there is simply no will to enforce them.

More cunts here than at a Hilltop Hoods show! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41373605)

With a six-pack of Pale, listen to the Hoods and watch the Double Blues boys prevail.

That's a good vibe, as good as the first time you saw Hilltop Hoods live...

Silly pirates? (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370073)

Why would people who pirate things not use an anonymizing proxy? Is there something about the bidirectional aspect of bittorrent protocol that stops this working?

I tried one for web browsing when they were discussing the establishment of the great firewall of Australia (which failed to eventuate), and while it did slow things down, it seemed to work fine. Websites that guessed at my location would be completely wrong.

Re:Silly pirates? (5, Informative)

Seumas (6865) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370253)

There is no such thing. In fact, most anonymizing and/or VPN services flat out state in their TOS that they will respond accordingly to all legal requests for information.

Anyway, it's kind of a waste of breath for us as a community of geeks to bother engaging people (like the journalist writing that article) in conversation when they don't even care enough to put the hyperbole aside and use rational words to discuss the topic. Starting off any discussion with the loaded word "piracy" or "pirate" in the title or opening paragraph is silly and unprofessional. It'd be like someone writing an article about a guy investigating government corruption by calling him an "anti-government terrorist" and asking him "why do you hate 'Merica?!"

As for "copyright infringement", and "file sharing", there's little point in people getting their panties in a twist. Technology evolves and so do industries. We already have services like MOG and NETFLIX, which replace what a lot of questionable activities used to provide, for a combined total of a whopping $13 USD/mo. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. In the coming years, we should find more content available to more people in massive libraries like both of these services for *very affordable* subscriptions. When that finally happens, the idea of bothering with file sharing becomes silly unless you are really and truly destitute. For everyone else, it'd be absurd to waste precious time finding and downloading crap via these other methods when they could just pay $5 for an almost limitless library of music or $10 for an endless library of movies and television. The only possible exception will remain books, where there seems to be no equivalent and you'll be stuck paying the $30-$60 per book that we do, today.

Re:Silly pirates? (3, Informative)

godel_56 (1287256) | more than 2 years ago | (#41371399)

There is no such thing. In fact, most anonymizing and/or VPN services flat out state in their TOS that they will respond accordingly to all legal requests for information.

Some VPNs claim there IS NO information if the authorities come calling


Re:Silly pirates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372151)

I wouldn't put too much faith in it. The VPN service provider knows the IP addresses of the endpoints and can identify which data stream belongs to whom. VPNs do not use onion routing, do they? If they don't keep logs, the authorities will simply force them to create logs or bring their own equipment if they think it's worth it.

Re:Silly pirates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372149)

We already have services like MOG and NETFLIX [...]

Do we? I certainly don't. "US-only", it seems.

Oh well, at least I still have BBC Player (which works wonderfully, behind a british VPN). Geolocation lol.

Re:Silly pirates? (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372575)

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. In the coming years, we should find more content available to more people in massive libraries like both of these services for *very affordable* subscriptions.

FTFY; You highlighted the wrong word. I have no interest in *renting* the media I pay for; I either own it, and can play it whenever, wherever I want, or their business model can DIAF. They are not taking my money and running when they decide the service isn't profitable enough.

I can *buy* books, games, music for pennies, just not from big media, and that's what I do, and a bigger chunk of it goes to the author / artist per purchase. Fuck big media. Fuck it until it dies.

Re:Silly pirates? (1)

pantaril (1624521) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372925)

As for "copyright infringement", and "file sharing", there's little point in people getting their panties in a twist. Technology evolves and so do industries. We already have services like MOG and NETFLIX, which replace what a lot of questionable activities used to provide, for a combined total of a whopping $13 USD/mo. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. In the coming years, we should find more content available to more people in massive libraries like both of these services for *very affordable* subscriptions.

I wish i could share your optimism, but i think that your prediction won't come true while current copyright law is in effect. You mention netflix, they are operating since 1999, still they are only available in america and their catalog contains only fraction of available material (they contain cca 100k titles according to wikipedia. There is cca 2280k movies listed just on IMDB, there are many more titles not listed there). Why should i think that this situation will change in near future?

The problem is, copyright doesn't allow you to include some work in your library without the consent of the author. Many authors won't grant you such consent because you never ask them (there are too many of them), they are dead, unknown, they don't care or some other reason. When this happens, your only option is piracy.

Just see what happened when google tried to create comprehensive library of e-book materials. Lot's of greedy authors accused them of theft. While the era of copyright lasts, there will be no comprehensive library of works, because authors will never give blanket approval for everyone to include their creation in their library. In order to profit with copyright, authors need to maintain tight control over the distribution of their work. They don't care that majority of intelectual property is not legaly available to most people as consequence.

Re:Silly pirates? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#41371819)

The decent ones cost money, they impact performance, and they take more knowledge to set up than just using a torrent client.

cash (4, Insightful)

MadMaverick9 (1470565) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370087)

If you love music, download legally

I'd like to ...

Where's the store that I can go to with my 20 gbp cash and a usb stick and download/buy music/software/movies?

It doesn't exist. That's the problem.

Re:cash (-1, Troll)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370553)

Right you have absolutely no options.

because they don't sell iTunes cards for cash

and banks won't take your cash and put it in a checking account you could draw from to pay your on-line bills

and you don't have a credit card.

Say, did you print that cash yourself?

Re:cash (2)

EvilAlphonso (809413) | more than 2 years ago | (#41371907)

Right you have absolutely no options.

because they don't sell iTunes cards for cash

and banks won't take your cash and put it in a checking account you could draw from to pay your on-line bills

Even tho they are based in my country for tax reasons, itunes and amazon refuse to provide this service to me. I could buy from a service in another country, but according to the rights holder representatives that crime is as heinous as pirating. The catalog of services that are available to me usually doesn't contain the music I enjoy, so in the end I stopped consuming. This is a loss they will somehow blame on piracy, even tho it has nothing to do with it.

and you don't have a credit card.

I indeed do not hold a credit card anymore, the vast majority of shops around here do not accept them.

Re:cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372371)

1) I can't get iTunes to work on my PC.

2) Most of the things I try to buy I get the message "sorry, this media is not available in your region". If I bought a DVD from amazon and had it shipped here, it would not work on my DVD player.

3) There isn't a similar service for movies or TV shows. I heard iTunes offers movies/TV shows in America, but they definitely do not here...

Re:cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372533)

because they don't sell iTunes cards for cash

No Sony or Apple product will ever find their way into my home.

Re:cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41370813)

For music, there's the amazon mp3 store. You get DRM-free mp3s that you can copy to a USB stick if you want. I've been using them for years and am quite happy, and they carry a lot of indie music, not just the big-name MPAA based stuff, so there's a lot to pick from.

For movies, I dunno.

They're still region specific sales (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372063)

Like many electronic goods, you can find them on amazon.com, but they won't sell to you because the rightsholder has refused.

Re:cash (1)

jacobbrett (1875398) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372275)

For music, there's the amazon mp3 store. You get DRM-free mp3s that you can copy to a USB stick if you want. I've been using them for years and am quite happy, and they carry a lot of indie music, not just the big-name MPAA based stuff, so there's a lot to pick from.

For movies, I dunno.

Not everything is DRM-free; many recordings contain personally-identifiable metadata:

Record Company Required Metadata: Music file contains unique purchase identifier.

(example [amazon.co.uk] )

Re:cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372373)

personally-identifiable metadata != DRM

Re:cash (4, Insightful)

Yaruar (125933) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372499)

You know, it nearly did. I worked for a start-up years ago who were pioneering the music kiosk business, firstly allowing albums and mix albums to be burned on the fly, and there was a working solution for downloads of MP3s straight to devices or USB. The major labels and most of the indies were interested and signed on the dotted line. Millions of pounds were invested. Best Buy were trialing the cd burning, but even 8 years ago we knew the market needed the direct to device solution.

The problem which killed it. Apple. They refused to allow any content to go onto their devices bypassing itunes and wouldn't even consider working with us. We had the product, we had about 80,000+ lossless albums converting merrily stored ready to rock, but apple killed the business model because like it or not iPods dominated the market.

Most piracy happens in person. (3, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370105)

Only about 20% of copying happens over the net. The majority comes from swap parties between friends as they copy MP3s or AACs from one drive to another. (Yes there's a source for this. It was published here on /. but I can't find the article.)

I was invited to a swap party once... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41370845)

but my wife wouldn't let me go!

Re:I was invited to a swap party once... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41371589)

She was afraid you'd be upset that the people there already know her because she's been going for years.

Special 301 Report (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41370137)

So maybe America should be on its own Special 301 Report list of countries that are "watched" for piracy? Kinda ironic and super funny.

Nobody Seems To Notice and Nobody Seems To Care (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41370187)

Nobody Seems To Notice and Nobody Seems To Care - Government & Stealth Malware

In Response To Slashdot Article: Former Pentagon Analyst: China Has Backdoors To 80% of Telecoms 87

How many rootkits does the US[2] use officially or unofficially?

How much of the free but proprietary software in the US spies on you?

Which software would that be?

Visit any of the top freeware sites in the US, count the number of thousands or millions of downloads of free but proprietary software, much of it works, again on a proprietary Operating System, with files stored or in transit.

How many free but proprietary programs have you downloaded and scanned entire hard drives, flash drives, and other media? Do you realize you are giving these types of proprietary programs complete access to all of your computer's files on the basis of faith alone?

If you are an atheist, the comparison is that you believe in code you cannot see to detect and contain malware on the basis of faith! So you do believe in something invisible to you, don't you?

I'm now going to touch on a subject most anti-malware, commercial or free, developers will DELETE on most of their forums or mailing lists:

APT malware infecting and remaining in BIOS, on PCI and AGP devices, in firmware, your router (many routers are forced to place backdoors in their firmware for their government) your NIC, and many other devices.

Where are the commercial or free anti-malware organizations and individual's products which hash and compare in the cloud and scan for malware for these vectors? If you post on mailing lists or forums of most anti-malware organizations about this threat, one of the following actions will apply: your post will be deleted and/or moved to a hard to find or 'deleted/junk posts' forum section, someone or a team of individuals will mock you in various forms 'tin foil hat', 'conspiracy nut', and my favorite, 'where is the proof of these infections?' One only needs to search Google for these threats and they will open your malware world view to a much larger arena of malware on devices not scanned/supported by the scanners from these freeware sites. This point assumed you're using the proprietary Microsoft Windows OS. Now, let's move on to Linux.

The rootkit scanners for Linux are few and poor. If you're lucky, you'll know how to use chkrootkit (but you can use strings and other tools for analysis) and show the strings of binaries on your installation, but the results are dependent on your capability of deciphering the output and performing further analysis with various tools or in an environment such as Remnux Linux. None of these free scanners scan the earlier mentioned areas of your PC, either! Nor do they detect many of the hundreds of trojans and rootkits easily available on popular websites and the dark/deep web.

Compromised defenders of Linux will look down their nose at you (unless they are into reverse engineering malware/bad binaries, Google for this and Linux and begin a valuable education!) and respond with a similar tone, if they don't call you a noob or point to verifying/downloading packages in a signed repo/original/secure source or checking hashes, they will jump to conspiracy type labels, ignore you, lock and/or shuffle the thread, or otherwise lead you astray from learning how to examine bad binaries. The world of Linux is funny in this way, and I've been a part of it for many years. The majority of Linux users, like the Windows users, will go out of their way to lead you and say anything other than pointing you to information readily available on detailed binary file analysis.

Don't let them get you down, the information is plenty and out there, some from some well known publishers of Linux/Unix books. Search, learn, and share the information on detecting and picking through bad binaries. But this still will not touch the void of the APT malware described above which will survive any wipe of r/w media. I'm convinced, on both *nix and Windows, these pieces of APT malware are government in origin. Maybe not from the US, but most of the 'curious' malware I've come across in poisoned binaries, were written by someone with a good knowledge in English, some, I found, functioned similar to the now well known Flame malware. From my experience, either many forum/mailing list mods and malware developers/defenders are 'on the take', compromised themselves, and/or working for a government entity.

Search enough, and you'll arrive at some lone individuals who cry out their system is compromised and nothing in their attempts can shake it of some 'strange infection'. These posts receive the same behavior as I said above, but often they are lone posts which receive no answer at all, AT ALL! While other posts are quickly and kindly replied to and the 'strange infection' posts are left to age and end up in a lost pile of old threads.

If you're persistent, the usual challenge is to, "prove it or STFU" and if the thread is not attacked or locked/shuffled and you're lucky to reference some actual data, they will usually attack or ridicule you and further drive the discussion away from actual proof of APT infections.

The market is ripe for an ambitious company or individual to begin demanding companies and organizations who release firmware and design hardware to release signed and hashed packages and pour this information into the cloud, so everyone's BIOS is checked, all firmware on routers, NICs, and other devices are checked, and malware identified and knowledge reported and shared openly.

But even this will do nothing to stop backdoored firmware (often on commercial routers and other networked devices of real importance for government use - which again opens the possibility of hackers discovering these backdoors) people continue to use instead of refusing to buy hardware with proprietary firmware/software.

Many people will say, "the only safe computer is the one disconnected from any network, wireless, wired, LAN, internet, intranet" but I have seen and you can search yourself for and read about satellite, RF, temperature, TEMPEST (is it illegal in your part of the world to SHIELD your system against some of these APT attacks, especially TEMPEST? And no, it's not simply a CRT issue), power line and many other attacks which can and do strike computers which have no active network connection, some which have never had any network connection. Some individuals have complained they receive APT attacks throughout their disconnected systems and they are ridiculed and labeled as a nutter. The information exists, some people have gone so far as to scream from the rooftops online about it, but they are nutters who must have some serious problems and this technology with our systems could not be possible.

I believe most modern computer hardware is more powerful than many of us imagine, and a lot of these systems swept from above via satellite and other attacks. Some exploits take advantage of packet radio and some of your proprietary hardware. Some exploits piggyback and unless you really know what you're doing, and even then... you won't notice it.

Back to the Windows users, a lot of them will dismiss any strange activity to, "that's just Windows!" and ignore it or format again and again only to see the same APT infected activity continue. Using older versions of sysinternals, I've observed very bizarre behavior on a few non networked systems, a mysterious chat program running which doesn't exist on the system, all communication methods monitored (bluetooth, your hard/software modems, and more), disk mirroring software running[1], scans running on different but specific file types, command line versions of popular Windows freeware installed on the system rather than the use of the graphical component, and more.

[1] In one anonymous post on pastebin, claiming to be from an intel org, it blasted the group Anonymous, with a bunch of threats and information, including that their systems are all mirrored in some remote location anyway.

[2] Or other government, US used in this case due to the article source and speculation vs. China. This is not to defend China, which is one messed up hell hole on several levels and we all need to push for human rights and freedom for China's people. For other, freer countries, however, the concentration camps exist but you wouldn't notice them, they originate from media, mostly your TV, and you don't even know it. As George Carlin railed about "Our Owners", "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".

[3] http://www.stallman.org/ [stallman.org]

Try this yourself on a wide variety of internet forums and mailing lists, push for malware scanners to scan more than files, but firmware/BIOS. See what happens, I can guarantee it won't be pleasant, especially with APT cases.

So scan away, or blissfully ignore it, but we need more people like RMS[3] in the world. Such individuals tend to be eccentric but their words ring true and clear about electronics and freedom.

I believe we're mostly pwned, whether we would like to admit it or not, blind and pwned, yet fiercely holding to misinformation, often due to lack of self discovery and education, and "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".


Schneier has covered it before: power line fluctuations (differences on the wire in keys pressed).

There's thermal attacks against cpus and temp, also:

ENF (google it)

A treat (ENF Collector in Java):

sourceforge dot net fwdslash projects fwdslash nfienfcollector

No single antimalware scanner exists which offers the ability to scan (mostly proprietary) firmware on AGP/PCI devices (sound cards, graphics cards, usb novelty devices excluding thumb drives), BIOS/CMOS.

If you boot into ultimate boot cd you can use an archane text interface to dump BIOS/CMOS and examine/checksum.

The real attacks which survive disk formats and wipes target your PCI devices and any firmware which may be altered/overwritten with something special. It is not enough to scan your hard drive(s) and thumb drives, the real dangers with teeth infect your hardware devices.

When is the last time you:

Audited your sound card for malware?
Audited your graphics card for malware?
Audited your network card for malware?

Google for:

* AGP and PCI rootkit(s)
* Network card rootkit(s)
* BIOS/CMOS rootkit(s)

Our modern PC hardware is capable of much more than many can imagine.

Do you:

* Know your router's firmware may easily be replaced on a hacker's whim?
* Shield all cables against leakage and attacks
* Still use an old CRT monitor and beg for TEMPEST attacks?
* Use TEMPEST resistant fonts in all of your applications including your OS?
* Know whether or not your wired keyboard has keypresses encrypted as they pass to your PC from the keyboard?
* Use your PC on the grid and expose yourself to possible keypress attacks?
* Know your network card is VERY exploitable when plugged into the net and attacked by a hard core blackhat or any vicious geek with the know how?
* Search out informative papers on these subjects and educate your friends and family about these attacks?
* Contact antimalware companies and urge them to protect against many or all these attacks?

Do you trust your neighbors? Are they all really stupid when it comes to computing or is there a geek or two without a conscience looking to exploit these areas?

The overlooked threat are the potential civilian rogues stationed around you, especially in large apartment blocks who feed on unsecured wifi to do their dirty work.

With the recent news of Russian spies, whether or not this news was real or a psyop, educate yourself on the present threats which all antimalware scanners fail to protect against and remove any smug mask you may wear, be it Linux or OpenBSD, or the proprietary Windows and Mac OS you feel are properly secured and not vulnerable to any outside attacks because you either don't need an antivirus scanner (all are inept to serious attacks) or use one or several (many being proprietary mystery machines sending data to and from your machine for many reasons, one is to share your information with a group or set database to help aid in threats), the threats often come in mysterious ways.

Maybe the ancients had it right: stone tablets and their own unique language(s) rooted in symbolism.


I'm more concerned about new rootkits which target PCI devices, such as the graphics card and the optical drives, also, BIOS. Where are the malware scanners which scan PCI devices and BIOS for mismatches? All firmware, BIOS and on PCI devices should be checksummed and saved to match with others in the cloud, and archived when the computer is first used, backing up signed firmware.

When do you recall seeing signed router firmware upgrades with any type of checksum to check against? Same for PCI devices and optical drives and BIOS.

Some have begun with BIOS security:

http://www.biosbits.org/ [biosbits.org]

Some BIOS has write protection in its configuration, a lot of newer computers don't.


"Disconnect your PC from the internet and don't add anything you didn't create yourself. It worked for the NOC list machine in Mission Impossible"

The room/structure was likely heavily shielded, whereas most civvies don't shield their house and computer rooms. There is more than meets the eye to modern hardware.


subversion hack:

network card rootkits and trojans
pci rootkits
packet radio
xmit "fm fingerprinting" software
"specific emitter identification"

how many malware scanners scan bios/cmos and pci/agp cards for malware? zero, even the rootkit scanners. have you checksummed/dumped your bios/cmos and firmware for all your pci/agp devices and usb devices, esp vanity usb devices in and outside the realm of common usb devices (thumbdrives, external hdds, printers),

Unless your computer room is shielded properly, the computers may still be attacked and used, I've personally inspected computers with no network connection running mysterious code in the background which task manager for windows and the eqiv for *nix does not find, and this didn't find it all.

Inspect your windows boot partition in *nix with hexdump and look for proxy packages mentioned along with command line burning programs and other oddities. Computers are more vulnerable than most would expect.

You can bet all of the malware scanners today, unless they are developed by some lone indy coder in a remote country, employ whitelisting of certain malware and none of them scan HARDWARE devices apart from the common usb devices.

Your network cards, sound cards, cd/dvd drives, graphics cards, all are capable of carrying malware to survive disk formatting/wiping.

Boot from a Linux live cd and use hexdump to examine your windows (and *nix) boot sectors to potentially discover interesting modifications by an unknown party.


If you can't get the message, get the man (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41370199)

Memorable quotes for
Looker (1981)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082677/quotes [imdb.com]

"John Reston: Television can control public opinion more effectively than armies of secret police, because television is entirely voluntary. The American government forces our children to attend school, but nobody forces them to watch T.V. Americans of all ages *submit* to television. Television is the American ideal. Persuasion without coercion. Nobody makes us watch. Who could have predicted that a *free* people would voluntarily spend one fifth of their lives sitting in front of a *box* with pictures? Fifteen years sitting in prison is punishment. But 15 years sitting in front of a television set is entertainment. And the average American now spends more than one and a half years of his life just watching television commercials. Fifty minutes, every day of his life, watching commercials. Now, that's power."


"The United States has it's own propaganda, but it's very effective because people don't realize that it's propaganda. And it's subtle, but it's actually a much stronger propaganda machine than the Nazis had but it's funded in a different way. With the Nazis it was funded by the government, but in the United States, it's funded by corporations and corporations they only want things to happen that will make people want to buy stuff. So whatever that is, then that is considered okay and good, but that doesn't necessarily mean it really serves people's thinking - it can stupify and make not very good things happen."
- Crispin Glover: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000417/bio [imdb.com]


"It's only logical to assume that conspiracies are everywhere, because that's what people do. They conspire. If you can't get the message, get the man." - Mel Gibson (from an interview)


"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." - William Casey, CIA Director


"The real reason for the official secrecy, in most instances, is not to keep the opposition (the CIA's euphemistic term for the enemy) from knowing what is going on; the enemy usually does know. The basic reason for governmental secrecy is to keep you, the American public, from knowing - for you, too, are considered the opposition, or enemy - so that you cannot interfere. When the public does not know what the government or the CIA is doing, it cannot voice its approval or disapproval of their actions. In fact, they can even lie to your about what they are doing or have done, and you will not know it. As for the second advantage, despite frequent suggestion that the CIA is a rogue elephant, the truth is that the agency functions at the direction of and in response to the office of the president. All of its major clandestine operations are carried out with the direct approval of or on direct orders from the White House. The CIA is a secret tool of the president - every president. And every president since Truman has lied to the American people in order to protect the agency. When lies have failed, it has been the duty of the CIA to take the blame for the president, thus protecting him. This is known in the business as "plausible denial." The CIA, functioning as a secret instrument of the U.S. government and the presidency, has long misused and abused history and continues to do so."
- Victor Marchetti, Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History


George Carlin:

"The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they're an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They've got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They've got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.

But I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them. That's against their interests. They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago.

You know what they want? Obedient workers people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they're coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It's a big club, and you ain't in it. You and I are not in the big club.

This country is finished."


We now return you Americans to your media: Corporate, Government sponsored and controlled (rigged) elections..

Most of you are all so asleep it's time you woke up!

The Mind Has No Firewall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41370207)

"The Mind Has No Firewall" by Timothy L. Thomas. Parameters, Spring 1998, pp. 84-92.

The human body, much like a computer, contains myriad data processors. They include, but are not limited to, the chemical-electrical activity of the brain, heart, and peripheral nervous system, the signals sent from the cortex region of the brain to other parts of our body, the tiny hair cells in the inner ear that process auditory signals, and the light-sensitive retina and cornea of the eye that process visual activity.[2] We are on the threshold of an era in which these data processors of the human body may be manipulated or debilitated. Examples of unplanned attacks on the body's data-processing capability are well-documented. Strobe lights have been known to cause epileptic seizures. Not long ago in Japan, children watching television cartoons were subjected to pulsating lights that caused seizures in some and made others very sick.

Defending friendly and targeting adversary data-processing capabilities of the body appears to be an area of weakness in the US approach to information warfare theory, a theory oriented heavily toward systems data-processing and designed to attain information dominance on the battlefield. Or so it would appear from information in the open, unclassified press. This US shortcoming may be a serious one, since the capabilities to alter the data- processing systems of the body already exist. A recent edition of U.S. News and World Report highlighted several of these "wonder weapons" (acoustics, microwaves, lasers) and noted that scientists are "searching the electromagnetic and sonic spectrums for wavelengths that can affect human behavior."[3] A recent Russian military article offered a slightly different slant to the problem, declaring that "humanity stands on the brink of a psychotronic war" with the mind and body as the focus. That article discussed Russian and international attempts to control the psycho-physical condition of man and his decisionmaking processes by the use of VHF-generators, "noiseless cassettes," and other technologies.

An entirely new arsenal of weapons, based on devices designed to introduce subliminal messages or to alter the body's psychological and data-processing capabilities, might be used to incapacitate individuals. These weapons aim to control or alter the psyche, or to attack the various sensory and data-processing systems of the human organism. In both cases, the goal is to confuse or destroy the signals that normally keep the body in equilibrium.

This article examines energy-based weapons, psychotronic weapons, and other developments designed to alter the ability of the human body to process stimuli. One consequence of this assessment is that the way we commonly use the term "information warfare" falls short when the individual soldier, not his equipment, becomes the target of attack.

Information Warfare Theory and the Data-Processing Element of Humans

In the United States the common conception of information warfare focuses primarily on the capabilities of hardware systems such as computers, satellites, and military equipment which process data in its various forms. According to Department of Defense Directive S-3600.1 of 9 December 1996, information warfare is defined as "an information operation conducted during time of crisis or conflict to achieve or promote specific objectives over a specific adversary or adversaries." An information operation is defined in the same directive as "actions taken to affect adversary information and information systems while defending one's own information and information systems." These "information systems" lie at the heart of the modernization effort of the US armed forces and other countries, and manifest themselves as hardware, software, communications capabilities, and highly trained individuals. Recently, the US Army conducted a mock battle that tested these systems under simulated combat conditions.

US Army Field Manual 101-5-1, Operational Terms and Graphics (released 30 September 1997), defines information warfare as "actions taken to achieve information superiority by affecting a hostile's information, information based-processes, and information systems, while defending one's own information, information processes, and information systems." The same manual defines information operations as a "continuous military operation within the military information environment that enables, enhances, and protects friendly forces' ability to collect, process, and act on information to achieve an advantage across the full range of military operations. [Information operations include] interacting with the Global Information Environment . . . and exploiting or denying an adversary's information and decision capabilities."[4]

This "systems" approach to the study of information warfare emphasizes the use of data, referred to as information, to penetrate an adversary's physical defenses that protect data (information) in order to obtain operational or strategic advantage. It has tended to ignore the role of the human body as an information- or data-processor in this quest for dominance except in those cases where an individual's logic or rational thought may be upset via disinformation or deception. As a consequence little attention is directed toward protecting the mind and body with a firewall as we have done with hardware systems. Nor have any techniques for doing so been prescribed. Yet the body is capable not only of being deceived, manipulated, or misinformed but also shut down or destroyedâ"just as any other data-processing system. The "data" the body receives from external sourcesâ"such as electromagnetic, vortex, or acoustic energy wavesâ"or creates through its own electrical or chemical stimuli can be manipulated or changed just as the data (information) in any hardware system can be altered.

The only body-related information warfare element considered by the United States is psychological operations (PSYOP). In Joint Publication 3-13.1, for example, PSYOP is listed as one of the elements of command and control warfare. The publication notes that "the ultimate target of [information warfare] is the information dependent process, whether human or automated . . . . Command and control warfare (C2W) is an application of information warfare in military operations. . . . C2W is the integrated use of PSYOP, military deception, operations security, electronic warfare and physical destruction."[5]

One source defines information as a "nonaccidental signal used as an input to a computer or communications system."[6] The human body is a complex communication system constantly receiving nonaccidental and accidental signal inputs, both external and internal. If the ultimate target of information warfare is the information-dependent process, "whether human or automated," then the definition in the joint publication implies that human data-processing of internal and external signals can clearly be considered an aspect of information warfare. Foreign researchers have noted the link between humans as data processors and the conduct of information warfare. While some study only the PSYOP link, others go beyond it. As an example of the former, one recent Russian article described offensive information warfare as designed to "use the Internet channels for the purpose of organizing PSYOP as well as for `early political warning' of threats to American interests."[7] The author's assertion was based on the fact that "all mass media are used for PSYOP . . . [and] today this must include the Internet." The author asserted that the Pentagon wanted to use the Internet to "reinforce psychological influences" during special operations conducted outside of US borders to enlist sympathizers, who would accomplish many of the tasks previously entrusted to special units of the US armed forces.

Others, however, look beyond simple PSYOP ties to consider other aspects of the body's data-processing capability. One of the principal open source researchers on the relationship of information warfare to the body's data-processing capability is Russian Dr. Victor Solntsev of the Baumann Technical Institute in Moscow. Solntsev is a young, well-intentioned researcher striving to point out to the world the potential dangers of the computer operator interface. Supported by a network of institutes and academies, Solntsev has produced some interesting concepts.[8] He insists that man must be viewed as an open system instead of simply as an organism or closed system. As an open system, man communicates with his environment through information flows and communications media. One's physical environment, whether through electromagnetic, gravitational, acoustic, or other effects, can cause a change in the psycho-physiological condition of an organism, in Solntsev's opinion. Change of this sort could directly affect the mental state and consciousness of a computer operator. This would not be electronic war or information warfare in the traditional sense, but rather in a nontraditional and non-US sense. It might encompass, for example, a computer modified to become a weapon by using its energy output to emit acoustics that debilitate the operator. It also might encompass, as indicated below, futuristic weapons aimed against man's "open system."

Solntsev also examined the problem of "information noise," which creates a dense shield between a person and external reality. This noise may manifest itself in the form of signals, messages, images, or other items of information. The main target of this noise would be the consciousness of a person or a group of people. Behavior modification could be one objective of information noise; another could be to upset an individual's mental capacity to such an extent as to prevent reaction to any stimulus. Solntsev concludes that all levels of a person's psyche (subconscious, conscious, and "superconscious") are potential targets for destabilization.

According to Solntsev, one computer virus capable of affecting a person's psyche is Russian Virus 666. It manifests itself in every 25th frame of a visual display, where it produces a combination of colors that allegedly put computer operators into a trance. The subconscious perception of the new pattern eventually results in arrhythmia of the heart. Other Russian computer specialists, not just Solntsev, talk openly about this "25th frame effect" and its ability to subtly manage a computer user's perceptions. The purpose of this technique is to inject a thought into the viewer's subconscious. It may remind some of the subliminal advertising controversy in the United States in the late 1950s.

US Views on "Wonder Weapons": Altering the Data-Processing Ability of the Body

What technologies have been examined by the United States that possess the potential to disrupt the data-processing capabilities of the human organism? The 7 July 1997 issue of U.S. News and World Report described several of them designed, among other things, to vibrate the insides of humans, stun or nauseate them, put them to sleep, heat them up, or knock them down with a shock wave.[9] The technologies include dazzling lasers that can force the pupils to close; acoustic or sonic frequencies that cause the hair cells in the inner ear to vibrate and cause motion sickness, vertigo, and nausea, or frequencies that resonate the internal organs causing pain and spasms; and shock waves with the potential to knock down humans or airplanes and which can be mixed with pepper spray or chemicals.[10]

With modification, these technological applications can have many uses. Acoustic weapons, for example, could be adapted for use as acoustic rifles or as acoustic fields that, once established, might protect facilities, assist in hostage rescues, control riots, or clear paths for convoys. These waves, which can penetrate buildings, offer a host of opportunities for military and law enforcement officials. Microwave weapons, by stimulating the peripheral nervous system, can heat up the body, induce epileptic-like seizures, or cause cardiac arrest. Low-frequency radiation affects the electrical activity of the brain and can cause flu-like symptoms and nausea. Other projects sought to induce or prevent sleep, or to affect the signal from the motor cortex portion of the brain, overriding voluntary muscle movements. The latter are referred to as pulse wave weapons, and the Russian government has reportedly bought over 100,000 copies of the "Black Widow" version of them.[11]

However, this view of "wonder weapons" was contested by someone who should understand them. Brigadier General Larry Dodgen, Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Policy and Missions, wrote a letter to the editor about the "numerous inaccuracies" in the U.S. News and World Report article that "misrepresent the Department of Defense's views."[12] Dodgen's primary complaint seemed to have been that the magazine misrepresented the use of these technologies and their value to the armed forces. He also underscored the US intent to work within the scope of any international treaty concerning their application, as well as plans to abandon (or at least redesign) any weapon for which countermeasures are known. One is left with the feeling, however, that research in this area is intense. A concern not mentioned by Dodgen is that other countries or non-state actors may not be bound by the same constraints. It is hard to imagine someone with a greater desire than terrorists to get their hands on these technologies. "Psycho-terrorism" could be the next buzzword.

Russian Views on "Psychotronic War"

The term "psycho-terrorism" was coined by Russian writer N. Anisimov of the Moscow Anti-Psychotronic Center. According to Anisimov, psychotronic weapons are those that act to "take away a part of the information which is stored in a man's brain. It is sent to a computer, which reworks it to the level needed for those who need to control the man, and the modified information is then reinserted into the brain." These weapons are used against the mind to induce hallucinations, sickness, mutations in human cells, "zombification," or even death. Included in the arsenal are VHF generators, X-rays, ultrasound, and radio waves. Russian army Major I. Chernishev, writing in the military journal Orienteer in February 1997, asserted that "psy" weapons are under development all over the globe. Specific types of weapons noted by Chernishev (not all of which have prototypes) were:

A psychotronic generator, which produces a powerful electromagnetic emanation capable of being sent through telephone lines, TV, radio networks, supply pipes, and incandescent lamps.

An autonomous generator, a device that operates in the 10-150 Hertz band, which at the 10-20 Hertz band forms an infrasonic oscillation that is destructive to all living creatures.

A nervous system generator, designed to paralyze the central nervous systems of insects, which could have the same applicability to humans.

Ultrasound emanations, which one institute claims to have developed. Devices using ultrasound emanations are supposedly capable of carrying out bloodless internal operations without leaving a mark on the skin. They can also, according to Chernishev, be used to kill.

Noiseless cassettes. Chernishev claims that the Japanese have developed the ability to place infra-low frequency voice patterns over music, patterns that are detected by the subconscious. Russians claim to be using similar "bombardments" with computer programming to treat alcoholism or smoking.

The 25th-frame effect, alluded to above, a technique wherein each 25th frame of a movie reel or film footage contains a message that is picked up by the subconscious. This technique, if it works, could possibly be used to curb smoking and alcoholism, but it has wider, more sinister applications if used on a TV audience or a computer operator.

Psychotropics, defined as medical preparations used to induce a trance, euphoria, or depression. Referred to as "slow-acting mines," they could be slipped into the food of a politician or into the water supply of an entire city. Symptoms include headaches, noises, voices or commands in the brain, dizziness, pain in the abdominal cavities, cardiac arrhythmia, or even the destruction of the cardiovascular system.

There is confirmation from US researchers that this type of study is going on. Dr. Janet Morris, coauthor of The Warrior's Edge, reportedly went to the Moscow Institute of Psychocorrelations in 1991. There she was shown a technique pioneered by the Russian Department of Psycho-Correction at Moscow Medical Academy in which researchers electronically analyze the human mind in order to influence it. They input subliminal command messages, using key words transmitted in "white noise" or music. Using an infra-sound, very low frequency transmission, the acoustic psycho-correction message is transmitted via bone conduction.[13]

In summary, Chernishev noted that some of the militarily significant aspects of the "psy" weaponry deserve closer research, including the following nontraditional methods for disrupting the psyche of an individual:

ESP research: determining the properties and condition of objects without ever making contact with them and "reading" peoples' thoughts

Clairvoyance research: observing objects that are located just beyond the world of the visibleâ"used for intelligence purposes

Telepathy research: transmitting thoughts over a distanceâ"used for covert operations

Telekinesis research: actions involving the manipulation of physical objects using thought power, causing them to move or break apartâ"used against command and control systems, or to disrupt the functioning of weapons of mass destruction

Psychokinesis research: interfering with the thoughts of individuals, on either the strategic or tactical level

While many US scientists undoubtedly question this research, it receives strong support in Moscow. The point to underscore is that individuals in Russia (and other countries as well) believe these means can be used to attack or steal from the data-processing unit of the human body.

Solntsev's research, mentioned above, differs slightly from that of Chernishev. For example, Solntsev is more interested in hardware capabilities, specifically the study of the information-energy source associated with the computer-operator interface. He stresses that if these energy sources can be captured and integrated into the modern computer, the result will be a network worth more than "a simple sum of its components." Other researchers are studying high-frequency generators (those designed to stun the psyche with high frequency waves such as electromagnetic, acoustic, and gravitational); the manipulation or reconstruction of someone's thinking through planned measures such as reflexive control processes; the use of psychotronics, parapsychology, bioenergy, bio fields, and psychoenergy;[14] and unspecified "special operations" or anti-ESP training.

The last item is of particular interest. According to a Russian TV broadcast, the strategic rocket forces have begun anti-ESP training to ensure that no outside force can take over command and control functions of the force. That is, they are trying to construct a firewall around the heads of the operators.


At the end of July 1997, planners for Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration '97 "focused on technologies that enhance real-time collaborative planning in a multinational task force of the type used in Bosnia and in Operation Desert Storm. The JWID '97 network, called the Coalition Wide-Area Network (CWAN), is the first military network that allows allied nations to participate as full and equal partners."[15] The demonstration in effect was a trade fair for private companies to demonstrate their goods; defense ministries got to decide where and how to spend their money wiser, in many cases without incurring the cost of prototypes. It is a good example of doing business better with less. Technologies demonstrated included:[16]

Soldiers using laptop computers to drag cross-hairs over maps to call in airstrikes

Soldiers carrying beepers and mobile phones rather than guns

Generals tracking movements of every unit, counting the precise number of shells fired around the globe, and inspecting real-time damage inflicted on an enemy, all with multicolored graphics[17]

Every account of this exercise emphasized the ability of systems to process data and provide information feedback via the power invested in their microprocessors. The ability to affect or defend the data-processing capability of the human operators of these systems was never mentioned during the exercise; it has received only slight attention during countless exercises over the past several years. The time has come to ask why we appear to be ignoring the operators of our systems. Clearly the information operator, exposed before a vast array of potentially immobilizing weapons, is the weak spot in any nation's military assets. There are few international agreements protecting the individual soldier, and these rely on the good will of the combatants. Some nations, and terrorists of every stripe, don't care about such agreements.

This article has used the term data-processing to demonstrate its importance to ascertaining what so-called information warfare and information operations are all about. Data-processing is the action this nation and others need to protect. Information is nothing more than the output of this activity. As a result, the emphasis on information-related warfare terminology ("information dominance," "information carousel") that has proliferated for a decade does not seem to fit the situation before us. In some cases the battle to affect or protect data-processing elements pits one mechanical system against another. In other cases, mechanical systems may be confronted by the human organism, or vice versa, since humans can usually shut down any mechanical system with the flip of a switch. In reality, the game is about protecting or affecting signals, waves, and impulses that can influence the data-processing elements of systems, computers, or people. We are potentially the biggest victims of information warfare, because we have neglected to protect ourselves.

Our obsession with a "system of systems," "information dominance," and other such terminology is most likely a leading cause of our neglect of the human factor in our theories of information warfare. It is time to change our terminology and our conceptual paradigm. Our terminology is confusing us and sending us in directions that deal primarily with the hardware, software, and communications components of the data-processing spectrum. We need to spend more time researching how to protect the humans in our data management structures. Nothing in those structures can be sustained if our operators have been debilitated by potential adversaries or terrorists whoâ"right nowâ"may be designing the means to disrupt the human component of our carefully constructed notion of a system of systems.


1. I. Chernishev, "Can Rulers Make `Zombies' and Control the World?" Orienteer, February 1997, pp. 58-62.

2. Douglas Pasternak, "Wonder Weapons," U.S. News and World Report, 7 July 1997, pp. 38-46.

3. Ibid., p. 38.

4. FM 101-5-1, Operational Terms and Graphics, 30 September 1997, p. 1-82.

5. Joint Pub 3-13.1, Joint Doctrine for Command and Control Warfare (C2W), 7 February 1996, p. v.

6. The American Heritage Dictionary (2d College Ed.; Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1982), p. 660, definition 4.

7. Denis Snezhnyy, "Cybernetic Battlefield & National Security," Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, No. 10, 15-21 March 1997, p. 2.

8. Victor I. Solntsev, "Information War and Some Aspects of a Computer Operator's Defense," talk given at an Infowar Conference in Washington, D.C., September 1996, sponsored by the National Computer Security Association. Information in this section is based on notes from Dr. Solntsev's talk.

9. Pasternak, p. 40.

10. Ibid., pp. 40-46.

11. Ibid.

12. Larry Dodgen, "Nonlethal Weapons," U.S. News and World Report, 4 August 1997, p. 5.

13. "Background on the Aviary," Nexus Magazine, downloaded from the Internet on 13 July 1997 from www.execpc.com/vjentpr/nexusavi.html, p.7.

14. Aleksandr Cherkasov, "The Front Where Shots Aren't Fired," Orienteer, May 1995, p. 45. This article was based on information in the foreign and Russian press, according to the author, making it impossible to pinpoint what his source was for this reference.

15. Bob Brewin, "DOD looks for IT `golden nuggets,'" Federal Computer Week, 28 July 1997, p. 31, as taken from the Earlybird Supplement, 4 August 1997, p. B 17.

16. Oliver August, "Zap! Hard day at the office for NATO's laptop warriors," The Times, 28 July 1997, as taken from the Earlybird Supplement, 4 August 1997, p. B 16.

17. Ibid.

Lieutenant Colonel Timothy L. Thomas (USA Ret.) is an analyst at the Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Recently he has written extensively on the Russian view of information operations and on current Russian military-political issues. During his military career he served in the 82d Airborne Division and was the Department Head of Soviet Military-Political Affairs at the US Army's Russian Institute in Garmisch, Germany.

[see the article on the Parameters portion of the Army Website.]

This Is A Pirated Country (1)

zenlessyank (748553) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370221)

The USA is a pirated country from the native Americans. It would only be appropriate that we would be number 1 on the list. I believe we pirated German scientists in order to build our nuclear arsenal so as we could pirate more bounty! I sense a theme here!

Re:This Is A Pirated Country (2)

deimtee (762122) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370691)

You are only No 1 on the totals. On a per capita basis AU is four times as piratey, and a clear winner over everyone.
Good to see we are doing our bit to combat global warming, FSM be praised.

Flawed, flawed, flawed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41370263)

Even the use of the word "piracy" prevents us from reaching an effective (or at least a working) solution. Many simple ideas are out of question when you slam the table and starts yelling "where is my money?".

But then, it's not directly about money, is it?

Re:Flawed, flawed, flawed... (0)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370593)

Even the use of the word "piracy" prevents us from reaching an effective (or at least a working) solution. Many simple ideas are out of question when you slam the table and starts yelling "where is my money?".

But then, it's not directly about money, is it?

You're right. A more accurate term is "freeloader."

And of course it's about the money. When offered an opportunity to pay for what you used, did you do it, or are you saying you were not offered any opportunity to exchange money for some form of license-to-use that the copyright owner would accept? Or are you arguing that the terms were so objectionable that even if the right-to-use were offered free of charge you would still not accept it?

Who's the freeloader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372091)

The one who is gaining monetary reward from the efforts of someone else who did the work of copying and insisting on revenue from that in perpetuity?

Look at the film "About a Boy".

There's a freeloader for you.

And if this is supposed to be a purchase agreement, where is the AGREEMENT? Oh, it's a Hobson's Choice "agreement". If I counter their terms and conditions to something acceptable to me, if they refuse, am I stealing anything by taking someone else's copy, doing the work of copying and then using that copy I made?

Because the "author" (never actually the author, just the copyright holder who pays the author as if it were a work for hire, but requiring rights for a work done independently) hasn't lost a thing except voluntarily. By your reasoning, his demand for money for the work when he refused an offer, HE is the freeloader.

Re:Flawed, flawed, flawed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372175)

I have to wonder who the freeloaders are--those that want the government to create artificial monopolies for certain people and restrict what others can do with their own property, or those that value the ability to communicate freely and value the free market.

Re:Flawed, flawed, flawed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372375)

Or are you arguing that the terms were so objectionable that even if the right-to-use were offered free of charge you would still not accept it?

Well, that's exactly the argument that I use for software, which is why I run only FLOSS at home. Are you suggesting that argument is flawed in any way? Or are you suggesting that the market for FLOSM is in any way comparable to the market for FLOSS?

Re:Flawed, flawed, flawed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372781)

>>> Even the use of the word "piracy" prevents...

> You're right. A more accurate term is "freeloader."

I can go with that, but I don't deny there are legal implications about using an unlicensed artwork. The problem is painting freeloaders as bloodthirsty killers. And then going around like a gorilla and promising to prosecute everyone and his grandma.

> And of course it's about the money.

Yes and no. Of course, freeloaders want to save a few bucks and, of course, distributors want to rake in all they can and pay the authors as close to zero as possible -- but the real question is control, because control will ensure the continuous flow of money in the future.

For that, they need laws -- laws that benefit them. But you cannot just lobby for a law stating people must give you money. You have to wage a war first -- and then demand money in the peace treaty. We're at war now, not because freeloaders want -- freeloaders just want things without paying -- we're at war because *AA needs a war.

Also, for a few people (including me), paying was never a problem -- I just don't want to have DRM or SOPA or any anti piracy acts. "For a song" has a certain meaning and I don't want it to change. Specially not because of some lazy, fat cats living off authors as parasites.

WTF Slashdot? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41370305)

Stop calling it piracy. Downloading something not even close to the same thing as getting on a boat and using weapons to take control of another vessel. Pirates murder, pillage, rape, etc. Slashdot sounds more and more like the lamestream media every day.

'Satchmo' in the Isle of Wight (1)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370373)

I used to live in the Isle of Wight, you inconsiderate clod!

Re:'Satchmo' in the Isle of Wight (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370603)

interestingly, that island has a long history of piracy.

would like to see a hollywood accounting study (2)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370393)

when the music industry steals from artists it would be good to see how bad it is and how much they are stealing from taxpayers. It could be used to warn Musicians from signing bad music deals.

Re:would like to see a hollywood accounting study (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370619)

Who held a gun to these artists' heads and made them sign contracts? Or did they do it because at the time they believed that the deal was acceptable?

Re:would like to see a hollywood accounting study (5, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370767)

Most contracts aren't even readable. The artists don't realize that the contract often stipulates they don't get paid until they make a profit (which rarely happens).

QUOTE: "The royalty rates granted in every recording contract are very low to start with and then companies charge back every conceivable cost to an artist's royalty account. Artists pay for recording costs, video production costs, tour support, radio promotion, sales and marketing costs, packaging costs and any other cost the record company can subtract from their royalties. Record companies also reduce royalties by "forgetting" to report sales figure, miscalculating royalties and by preventing artists from auditing record company books." http://www.gerryhemingway.com/piracy2.html [gerryhemingway.com]

Re:would like to see a hollywood accounting study (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41371931)

Then how do you explain the big mansions, expensive cars, etc. these artists are seen with on TV?

Re:would like to see a hollywood accounting study (2)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372105)

I would guess they are mostly owned by the record publishers, at least indirectly, not the artists themselves.

How many artists do you know who get rich then stay rich?

Re:would like to see a hollywood accounting study (3, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372493)

There's a ridiculously low number of them. For each megastar you have a hundred thousand small artists getting ripped off.

Re:would like to see a hollywood accounting study (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#41371013)

Hey, what's it like to work for a label? How old is the youngest pirate you've prosecuted? 10... 8? How many of your customers have you prosecuted?

Re:would like to see a hollywood accounting study (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#41371853)

Until the rise of the internet, it was the only way any artist could hope to achieve any fame or commercial success. The label provides the capital to record the record, the experts to make it happen, the promotional machine to get people to buy it, the money to mass-produce discs, and the contacts with retail to get those discs into stores. If your independant garage-band went to the Wal-Mart headquarters and asked if they would like to sell your music, it wouldn't matter how good you are: You'd be laughed out of the building.

It's a little better now - with the internet, it's possible for an artist to achieve some level of fame without a label (see Jonathan Coulton) and even commercial success, but even for the most talented their dreams of one day being superstars playing to packed stadiums are impossible without the marketing machine and business management that only a label can provide.

Streamtuner (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370843)

I would have thought that streamtuner and the like would have killed music piracy by now. I suppose most people simply do not know how convenient internet radio stations are. I haven't pirated or purchased music in years. Their is no need to do so, with hundreds of internet stations listed.

Re:Streamtuner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372741)

I think one of the hugest drawbacks right here is that it's Radio.

Now, I like radio on occasion. But sometimes I like to listen to the same song(s) over and over again until I get sick of it.

Nevermind that the RIAA is doing all it can to shoot itself in the foot with internet radio and piracy:

You fAIL it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41371843)

Who ARE these people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41371957)

Being in the UK, I just entered an "area related postcode" into the BBC searchbox, and it claims that the most illegally shared artists in my area are

1. Ed Sheeran
2. Rihanna
3. Frank Ocean

Now, I've heard OF Rihanna, though I've absolutely no interest in her product, but the other two? Not a blip on my radar. I'm thinking thie is a music industry advertising campaign to raise the profile of little-known performers....

Incoming Music Tax 2.0 in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372053)

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if this hits government at some point.
You know some retarded MP will come out with something like "it would be in the countries best interests to tax the internet so everyone can just download music for free"
Yes, because I sure like funding some of those scummy companies who refuse to change. Not to mention a whole bunch of scummy artists as well.

(note the 2.0. This would be THE SECOND TIME)

perspective (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41372165)

The overwhelming majority of musicians are unpaid amateurs and do it for fun.

Of those who make a living at music, almost all derive most of their income from instrumental teaching.

Of those who derive their income from playing, almost all are paid per performance (think session musicians, orchestral musicians etc), not on a royalty basis.

This whole issue is about a tiny proportion of musicians (mostly modern rock & pop) who perform almost entirely for recorded distribution. The recording business talk of 'killing music' is hysterical horsesh*t.

Human beings have been making music for over 30,000 years. Downloads are not going to stop them.

good post (-1, Offtopic)

cloneshoes (2733039) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372319)

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old timer (1)

joe545 (871599) | more than 2 years ago | (#41373407)

The most startling fact I found out when reading this article is that I am now, at 29 years old, past it. I had heard of hardly any of the "top" artists in these lists never mind pirate their music.

Canada loves Kanye West? (1)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | more than 2 years ago | (#41373501)

Darth Vader: Noooooooooooooooooo!
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