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  (Source: Wired's Threat Level)
Firefox extension Linked Users to Same Product at The Pirate Bay

Internet pirates were in for a brief surprise Wednesday: art students from the Netherlands launched “Pirates of the Amazon,” a Firefox extension that linked Amazon.com product pages to their equivalent listing at The Pirate Bay. The following day, however, the website hosting the project took it offline after it received threats from Amazon.com lawyers.

The add-on’s authors are thus far anonymous, identifying themselves only as students of a Media Design M.A. course at a Netherlands-based university. Their website currently describes the project as a “practical experiment on interface design, information access and currently debated issues in media culture.”

“We were surprised by the attentions and the strong reactions this project received,” reads the site. “Ultimately, the value of the project lies in these reactions.”

A description of the add-on before it was taken down said its authors wanted it to be a “counterpart to the current models of media distribution,” and to “redistribute the wealth.”

Indeed, within a day of the add-on’s launch, its authors received a takedown request from Amazon.com’s legal department.

WHOIS records and what appears to be an artzilla.org posting indicate that the domain is held by artist Timo Klok, and that the add-on is to be publicly exhibited at an art festival at the end of next week.

Dslreports.com user “funchords” notes that the add-on retreives the “download 4 free” image from it’s home site, allowing administrators to monitor the extension’s spread through web server logs. It is unknown as to whether or not the add-on was designed with this in mind.

According to TorrentFreak, the add-on’s authors are not affiliated with The Pirate Bay – despite evidence that the add-on’s code transmits its queries to The Pirate Bay under the user-agent string “Pirates-of-the-Amazon”. The DSLreports posting describing this behavior posits that it was simply a “cute thing to do.”

Amazon.com did not respond to repeated request for comment from Wired’s Threat Level.

While the add-on is no longer available from its original page, a working mirror is available from TorrentFreak.



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By wvh on 12/5/2008 8:22:44 PM , Rating: 3
Interesting indeed.

It is widely known only Americans have strict ethical codes, and the world beyond operates on principles from the Dark Ages or even prehistoric times. Obviously, no student in any of America's fine institutions would ever write, build or contribute anything that could be remotely construed as immoral or illegal, not even to make a philosophical point or raise an interesting issue. All American university students are good, morally upstanding folks. The Dutch however are clearly up to no good. One can only hope these primitive thieving communist students will be flogged or perhaps extradited to the US where they can learn the true meaning of justice.

Appropriate action at this point would be to raise the U.S. threat level to High, or Orange. All Americans should continue to be vigilant, take notice of their surroundings, and report suspicious items or activities to local authorities immediately. Everyone should establish an emergency preparedness kit and emergency plan for themselves and their family, and stay informed about what to do during an emergency.

While you occupy yourself with this, the rest of us will discuss piracy and experimental browser plugins.


"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes











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