Tag Archives: RIAA

With all the laws relating to the internet that have been in the news in the past year, you have almost all the ingredients needed for a drinking game. This time piracy isn##Q##t the big concern, but what you##Q##re watching on-screen.

Kartika Liotard##Q##s “Report on Eliminating Gender Stereotypes” is the focal point of the argument. While the concept seems noble, there##Q##s more to it, and it involves banning pornography across the European Union. That such a controversial idea is being discussed in Strasbourg this Tuesday means it hasn##Q##t been binned instantly.

There has been plenty of opposition, with people emailing Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to show discontent with the possibility. According to Christian Engstrom of the Pirate Party, “the European Parliament is silently blocking all or most emails that contain the word ‘gender##Q##”. Whether true or not, we can##Q##t say, but there must have been a lot of email added to inboxes regardless.

If you##Q##ve been reading Neowin for a while, you##Q##ll remember SOPA (and its second and third incarnations) andPIPA in the United States. Both were useless, according to the RIAA themselves. Nevertheless, they both attained a great deal of coverage for they were considered Orwellian measures of exerting control over the net.

EU to debate Europe-wide ban on pornography – Neowin.

In recent weeks we discovered BitTorrent pirates at the RIAA, Sony, Fox, Universal and even law-abiding organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security. By now it should be clear that people are using BitTorrent pretty much everywhere, and not only for lawful downloads. Today we can add the U.S. House of Representatives to that list, the place where lawmakers are drafting the much discussed “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA).

houseYouHaveDownloaded is a treasure trove full of incriminating data on alleged BitTorrent pirates in organizations all across the world.

Unauthorized downloads occur even in the most unexpected of places, from the palace of the French President, via the Church of God, to the RIAA.

Although we don’t plan to go on forever trawling the archives, we felt that there was at least one place that warranted further investigation – the U.S. House of Representatives. Since it’s the birthplace of the pending SOPA bill, we wondered how many of the employees there have engaged in unauthorized copying.

The answer is yet again unambiguous – they pirate a lot.

In total we found more than 800 IP-addresses assigned to the U.S. House of Representatives from where content has been shared on BitTorrent. After a closer inspection it quickly became clear the House isn’t just using it for legitimate downloads either, quite the opposite.

Below we’ll list a few of the 800 hits we found on YouHaveDownloaded, which in turn represent just a fraction of total downloads since the site only tracks a limited percentage of total BitTorrent traffic. Again, this is real and confirmed data that is just as good as the evidence used by the RIAA when they sued tens of thousands of people for file-sharing.

Something that immediately caught our eye are the self-help books that are downloaded in the House. “Crucial Conversations- Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High,” for example, may indeed be of interest to the political elite in the United States. And “How to Answer Hard Interview Questions And Everything Else You Need to Know to Get the Job You Want” may be helpful for those who aspire to higher positions.





Books tend to be popular in the House because we found quite a few more, including “Do Not Open – An Encyclopedia of the World’s Best-Kept Secrets” and “How Things Work Encyclopedia”. But of course the people at the heart of democracy are also downloading familiar content such as Windows 7, popular TV-shows and movies.





And there was another category we ran into more than we would have wanted too. It appears that aside from self-help books, House employees are also into adult themed self-help videos. We’ll list one of the least explicit here below, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.



Although the above is interesting, as the House is the place where lawmakers are currently trying to push though SOPA, this revelation might actually help their cause. If even people at the House are “stealing” content, we really need SOPA to counter it, they may say.

The question is though, whether SOPA will be able to break the habits of millions of Americans, as there will always be alternatives available. And even if it manages to put a dent in the current piracy rates, is that really worth it considering the potential damage SOPA can do to the open Internet and legal businesses?