Beware the G(r)eeks

The world never ceases to amaze. We think nothing of sliding a computer game disk in and playing whatever games we like. Spare a thought for the geeks in Greece. Playing computer games in public – particularly internet cafes – is illegal, after a law was passed a couple of years ago aimed at cracking down on illegal gamling. Unfortunately, what we would consider perfectly legitimate games wound up also being banned due to the wide embrace of the legislation.

“The law targeted rogue game hall operators who illegally turned arcade games consoles into gambling machines. But the blanket ban led law enforcement officers to start random raids on internet cafes in which customers played run-of-the-mill games such as chess, flight simulators or car races. “

File Swapping on the Rise?

The music industry made much of research a couple of months ago suggesting there had been a marked decrease in the number of people downloading songs, and citing this as evidence of the effects of their ongoing legal battles against the evil downloaders.

“But some experts and users say that file sharers are only being more secretive, and that file swapping is actually increasing. At least two research firms say more than 150 million songs are being downloaded free every month. “

It’s being suggested that the downloaders have just moved underground – they don’t own up when surveyed. Which makes a lot of sense.

Perhaps the final comments should be from a 26 year old financial planner in Boston, who says the lawsuit publicity has stopped he and his friends sharing, but not downloading:

“No matter what they do, it’s not going to work,” Spurr said. “To me the lawsuits are useless because the Internet is about sharing.”

Pepsi Giveway Hacked

Pepsi in the US is giving away 100 million free songs from the iTunes music download site. (You may remember they launched the campaign during the Superbowl using people who had previously been sued for downloading songs illegally). It seems Pepsi hasn’t quite got it right:

“One in three bottles is a winner, but it turns out that the markings can be read without removing the cap. Not only is it possible to pick out winning bottles in advance, but careful scrutiny can reveal the full 10-digit redemption code, meaning that no purchase is required to get a free iTunes single, courtesy of Pepsi. “


Turning the Tables

From IT Vibe:

“The Record Industry Association of America, RIAA, who recently issued another 532 lawsuits against file sharers, are now being sued by one of the file sharers they are targetting. Michele Scimeca is accusing the RIAA of extortion and racketeering offences, which fall under Americas 1970 Organized Crime and Control Act.”

Sounds like someone the RIAA targeted decided enought was enough. You have to be careful in the land of litigation, the USA. Sue someone, and inevitably someone will sue you. And with hundreds of lawsuits pending, it was only a matter of time before a defendent decided to turn the tables.

Getting Your Attention

Love this media release on the FBI web site. Nothing like overstatement. “Does the number TWENTY THREE BILLION DOLLARS get your attention?”

It explains:

“That’s how much money was lost last year as a result of criminals swiping copyright-protected digital copies of music, movies, software, and games… and distributing them through websites, chat rooms, mass email, FTP, and peer-to-peer networks.”

Weeellll, maybe. If, and a big if, everyone who ‘swiped’ (lovely turn of phrase from the Bureau) turned around and paid for the material instead. Which is extemely unlikely. And therein lies one of the core issues. The copyright content industry makes a great deal of noise about ‘lost’ revenue. But is it really lost? Losing it implies it can be found. And I haven’t seen anything which suggests that’s true.