I’m on the side that copyright infringement is a justifiably bad thing. My dad, not so much.
So now he recently signed up with a service that let him stream movies and TV shows–commenting on how amazingly recent everything in their collection is (having stuff still in theatres.) But no no, perfectly legal. It’s coming out of the UK!
So now I ask him for the URL (which contains “UK” in the domain name so it sounds like it’s British), ping the server to determine the IP address, and then do a location lookup and surprise surprise it’s coming out of Russia.
So I call my dad on the phone, "Well dad, your download service is coming out of the Russian Federation, and it’s got a professional looking website, good bandwidth, and is selling illegal goods. It even says on their FAQ, ‘[We don’t] warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability or legality of any information contained in the products and services offered’. So now who in Russia has enough money to create a good looking website with lots of bandwidth and also has limited morality? Yes indeed: the Russian Mafia now has your credit card information.
Now, they might not be abusing that information right now, but at the moment Russia is trying to join the WTO and allowing companies like this to keep on is one thing keeping them out. So once your company gets shut down by the Russian authorities, that’s a whole new ballpark. Either way, now would probably be a reaaally good time to change your credit card number. (And to make sure you haven’t accepted any ActiveX objects off that site…)"
It sounds like a variation of allofmp3.com which is, technically, legit. Not entirely ethical, but legal. I know their new version does movies as well, though I’ve forgotten the name. Russia’s version of the RIAA/MPAA allows for licensing of things much cheaper than the US one, you see.
Sorry, he may not have been suckered by the Russian Mob at all. What’s the site?
Well a) it’s cheaper because none of the money ever makes it back to the US, and b) that means that the original was never licensed from the copyright holder, which means that c) regardless of whether the Russian government is allowing the companies to do it, still doesn’t mean it’s legal in any moral sense. And I do assume that until the company is forced to shut down, that they will run a fairly straight-forward show.
I doubt the moderators would approve of me saying, as well as that I don’t want to give them any traffic.
AllofMP3 has a license from Russian Organization for Multimedia and Digital Systems. (ROMS) This is like SoundExchange in the US. They’re the people who, in the appropriate country, gather the money collected and distribute it to the artists.
This is not to say that people aren’t getting screwed. This is saying that ROMS is the way that artists get compensated in Russia. As far as Allofmp3 is concerned, they’re obeying all local laws.
I’m not saying these folks are legit, mind you. I don’t favor using allofmp3, myself, but on the spectrum of ‘pirate -> itunes -> buy CD rip yourself’ they’re closer to itunes than pirate.
The only reason I ask for the name is so that I can research 'em and find out if they do have a decent reputation. They may well be russian mob owned, in which case, you’ve got problems in regards to identity theft. Or, well, they may be as clean as these things get.
Or would you rather stick around in a non-reality based universe, feeling superior, over something that might not be true? Seriously. These guys got nothing to do with Stalin and everything to do with 1800s America and our proud tradition of pirating books from other countries.
I’d rather believe that companies which specifically set up a business doing something illegal, using a misleading name, running out of a country where international law is being ignored by the government so they can make a buck in copyright infringement–regardless of whether it’s actually the mafia running it or not–you’d much rather not have them have your email address or credit card information.
When it comes to private information, I’d much rather be on the safe side by a few furlongs.
Interestingly, you could say that using the copyright infringing services coming out of Russia is funding the group of Russian business that is keeping the country from being able to trade with the rest of the world for general goods that the populace could use.