Congress Plugs Anti-Piracy Legislation By Day, Pirates Porn by Night
December 29, 2011 10:41 AM
Do as we say, not as we do...
The U.S. House is currently debating the Stop Online Piracy Act (
), better known as SOPA. As mentioned in
our previous analysis
, SOPA has the potential to create devastating harm to internet businesses, as it allows sites to be taken down if any user posts links to infringing content.
For example, if a site's user policy explicitly forbid posting links to copyrighted material and one rogue user posted such content, the entire business could be effectively killed for however many weeks or days it took to remove the offending links and pass a complaint through the gears of bureaucracy. The solution appears to be sort of like chopping your leg off to fight an ingrown toenail.
I. All Onboard the Congressional Pirates Train
Now a particularly ironic fact has come to light -- it appears that IP addresses belonging to the offices of members of Congress have been downloading content illegally via BitTorrent.
Hurricane Electric's handy list of assigned IP blocks (found
) to track down which IP addresses belong to the offices of members of Congress. And lo and behold, when those addresses were compared to results on
, a torrent tracking site, they yielded over 800 hits.
Now to put this in context
tracks only a tiny portion of torrent traffic, so it appears that Congress -- even as they look to punish lesser mortals for file sharing -- are themselves gleefully committing a "smash and grab" as Vice President Joe Biden (D) once put it.
Much of the pirated materials appeared to be adult self-help or education books such as "Crucial Conversations- Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High" and "How to Answer Hard Interview Questions And Everything Else You Need to Know to Get the Job You Want".
Argh, Congress knows how to pirate, apparently! [Image Source: Reuters]
A fair amount of useful software -- like Microsoft Corp.'s (
) Windows 7 Ultimate Edition -- was also pirated.
But other pirated works appeared to be purely stolen for pleasure. For example one individual within the halls of Congress downloaded a season of Sons of Anarchy, a TV show on News Corp.'s (
) FX channel. Another download appeared to be
more "adult" in nature
-- "Gangland Cream Pie 21" (we're guessing that's not an educational baking special).
Some Members of Congress or staffers appear to like the cream pie. No, not this kind of cream pie. [Image Source: Food Network]
II. Editorial/Analysis: Should we be Surprised that Politicians are Hypocrites?
Is it surprising that the office of Congress are pirating even as they plot to chop the legs off of online business, further crippling the struggling U.S. economy, and raise taxes to further punitive punishments for filesharing that are already grossly disproportionate with offline offenses? Is it surprising that federal politicians or bureaucrats are pirating even as they plan to
imprison Americans for streaming sports events
, injecting even more Americans into the crowded penal system at a time when America imprisons more of its citizens than any nation in the world?
If Americans wants unbiased political representation -- human beings who truly wish the best for their well being -- why would they allow special interests to
pay federal politicians' way into office
? Clearly you're the boss of who pays you, and when it comes to politicians, their boss isn't the American people.
Why question are glorious industry installed leaders? [Image Source: Shepard Fairey]
should be congratulated though, for their excellent armchair gumshoe work. They've previously exposed busted torrent traffic coming from IPs
at the Department of Homeland Security and the RIAA
at Hollywood studios
; and at
the French President's Palace
. (Has nobody ever heard of Tor?)
Is intellectual property protection important? Of course. These government pirates are just as much in the wrong as the members of the public, as they're ultimately stealing work, denying hard working software engineers, actors, musicians, etc. funds.
But at the end of the day that SOPA and its propents aren't engaging in some lofty moral stand, they're just looking to smack down the little guy with punitive punishments, even as the nation's economy lurches and as they or their aids merrily pirate away.
"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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