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  • DVD & Internet Piracy - What is the Truth Behind It?
    By Nicky Page
    DeCSS, DivX, MP3, lets get it straight for once, these programs have nothing to do with Piracy! Read on…

    It's hard to turn on the news or read a computer magazine these days without at least something being said about Internet piracy. There is a huge uproar going on and it is getting more serious as Internet connection speeds get faster. At the moment whole music albums can be downloaded as CD quality MP3s in under 10 minutes with some broadband connections! Movies compressed at near-VHS quality can be downloaded in less than a few hours! And software costing thousands of pounds can be downloaded in a matter of minutes!

    Considering these facts, its no wonder that there is so much panic! The truly sad thing, though, is that in the hysteria, huge companies sometimes start treading on innocent people. There is definately a lot of ignorance in regards to who is in the wrong and how to solve the problems. So since this is such a big issue I thought it was about time I said a few words and cleared up some misconceptions about piracy and the related issues, of course this article only represents my own viewpoint on the matter.

    Disclaimer: this entire article is based on my own personal opinion! It is not meant as a statement of fact. It is not meant as a statement or guide to the law. It is not intended to malign others in any way. I am only exercising my right to freedom of speech and to give my personal opinion in regards to certain issues that I have read about in the media.


    What is Digital?

    First I think it may help to start by defining what Digital actually is. Digital actually describes a storage method in which any kind of information can be stored and transferred. Digital storage encodes all information into a long list of blocks; these blocks are either on or off, either ones or zeros. You can store just about any information in digital form, text, video, sound, software and so on. 'The Future is Digital' is the catch phrase of Digital Digest and I believe this is very true. The reason the future is digital is because it's a perfect way to store and transfer information. You remember the old magnetic audio tapes, every time you copied from one to the next the audio started to degrade. An audio tape is called analogue because the copy is "roughly" the same as the original, but no two copies of an analogue audio tape are the same. DATs and audio CD's, however, are digital sound and are always absolutely 'perfect' copies of the original! You can copy a digital CD forever and you will never loose any quality. The copy will always be exactly the same as the original. Occasionally the smart mouthed techie will tell you that not all CD copies are perfect, but this is not a problem with the format but rather a problem with 'inferior' CD copy software or hardware!


    What is DivX?


    The original DIVX stood for DIgital Video eXpress and was a system developed by Circuit City in the Los Angeles entertainment law firm Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca & Fischer. It was a little bit like Sky Box Office but with DVDs. You had a DVD player installed at your home and were allowed to rent DVDs for viewing.



    The DVD player would keep track of how many times you watched them and send the information by phone line to the company who would then charge you for it. Since you had to be "switched on" to watch the DVDs you could only play them in your player and no one else's player would work. Well, the system was an expensive and quite outrageous concept in general and it soon folded.






    In October 1998 the Mpeg organisation released specifications of the new Mpeg-4 codec they had been working on. It was the most advanced compression system they had built so far and was designed specifically for high quality Internet streaming video. Microsoft in a desperate attempt to corner the market and wanting to give Real Player a run for its money quickly got their hands on whatever they could about MPEG-4 and produced a format now known as ASF (Advanced Streaming Format) or WMV (Windows Media Video). It produced excellent compression and is still better than anything else at streaming video over the Internet.



    There were some big encoding problems originally with ASF, many of which have been solved by Microsoft now. Originally Microsoft wouldn't allow people to use anything but Windows Media Encoder to make the movies. The bitrate and sizes were restricted to small Internet streamable sizes and the audio very often went totally out of synchronisation.

    (above) Gej aka Jerome Rota.

    In the summer of 1999 Jerome Rota a 27-year-old French hacker known by his Internet name Gej obtained an early release of the Microsoft ASF codec. He, along with a German hacker named Max Morice, altered the program so that it could be used to create standard Windows compatible AVI files. This allowed whoever downloaded it to encode their movies using any popular AVI authoring software they wanted! It also allowed them to choose any size and bitrate they wanted. Yet another benefit was that they could use MP3 audio and fix the audio synchronisation problems associated with ASFs. Amazingly it was discovered that the new codec worked much better than the old VCD Mpeg-1 format that was used to make VHS quality Video CDs. What is more, the quality looked better even when used at much larger resolutions. The picture was sharper and it didn't break up into so many blocks. The compression turned out to be so good that people started creating Video CD's that were half the size of a commercial VCD and were able to fit them on a standard 650MB CD-R!

    Gej, in a sarcastic pop at the old Circuit City DIVX system, named his hacked codec DivX ;-) (D.I.V.X. smiley). This format was soon embraced by the rest of the Internet as the best quality video format and people began exchanging video clips using the DivX ;-) codec. DivX is now considered the MP3 of Internet video because people with fast enough connections can download whole movies in a matter of hours with it. According to Jack Valenti, chief executive of the Motion Picture Association of America: "[DivX] is moving extremely fast…I worry about the possibility that what happened to music [with MP3] will soon be happening to movies."

    Microsoft briefly mention DivX in their Windows Media support page. They say: "DivX uses the MPEG4v3 codec. The DivX file format is not support by Windows Media Player". Microsoft are not too happy with what DivX has become and quite frankly don't understand its popularity because as they contend 'they made the thing in the first place'. They also say they intend on taking legal action about it but have not done anything as yet. In reality I think Microsoft believe they have very little to worry about and want to see where this thing is going. No doubt, as far as they are concerned the old DivX codec has been hacked from their own codec, so it cannot be used by any business or for any moneymaking scheme because Microsoft would be well within their rights to prosecute on that basis!

    Soon enough Gej came out of hiding (which is why we can now use his real name etc.,) and has started up his own DivX project known as Project Mayo. They have allowed the source code for Mpeg-4 to be used by anyone provided they obey their licence agreements. Licence agreements? Isn't that what Microsoft wanted for their MPEG4 v3 codec? ;-)


    What is the legality of DivX ;-)?

    I'm not a solicitor so I cannot tell you a professional opinion on this one. I am only speaking out of common sense opinion and you should not take anything I say in this article as a qualified statement of the law.

    Imagine it like this: You bought a video recorder. One day an electrician friend of yours comes around and alters the video recorder for you so that the picture looks twice as good quality! All this fix required was that you change some internal settings of the video. So you tell all your friends about it and how it's done and soon enough everyone was doing the same fix. Is this legal to do? Of course! But what if you tried to make money selling the fixed video recorder to other people? Then this would be considered illegal because the video was made by someone else and you don't have permission to sell it! What is more, your fix would have automatically invalidated any warrantees that were given by the video company who built it.

    In my mind this is the same as DivX! DivX was a fix for the Microsoft Mpeg-4 codec that allowed us more freedom and better quality videos. It would be considered illegal to try and make money selling the codec or to make money from downloadable video clips etc., because the bulk of the technology and rights belong to Microsoft and the Mpeg organisation!

    We 'prefer' to use DivX even though Microsoft gives us the software to encode to ASF Mpeg-4 completely FREE! This is our choice and right. But if we intend on making any money with any business venture that uses DivX then we are probably stealing money from Microsoft. But how can we be stealing money when Microsoft are giving us ASF completely free with Media Encoder you ask?! Simple! Every time we use DivX for commercial reasons that's one instance when the ASF format will not be used. If DivX completely takes the place of ASF Mpeg-4 then all the money Microsoft has invested into it has been wasted. Ah-ha, you say! But DivX cannot be used to stream video like ASF; Microsoft's ASF format was designed solely to stream video content across the internet in real time, like Real Player does! DivX is only good at making small video clips or Video CDs! And yes, this may be the case, but that doesn't negate the fact that it is a technology that belonged to Microsoft and so shouldn't be used without their permission.

    I personally use DivX for making backups of movies I legally own and I also record video clips with a video capture card. Why? Because I like to play them on my computer, its as simple as that. I do not trade them with other people or sell them. If I bought a DVD and decided to use it as a coaster for my coffee that is my business! Just because that DVD wasn't designed to be used as a coaster doesn't matter, because it's my house. In the same way I have the right to use 'hacked' codecs such as DivX provided that I am not making any money out of it or giving them to others.


    Does DivX & MP3 make Piracy Possible!?

    Many would say "yes" without even thinking! But lets talk about DivX again. They say a whole DivX movie can be downloaded in an hour on a really fast Internet connection. Assuming this is true, that doesn't make piracy possible! Lets assume DivX didn't exist and there was only MPEG-1 VCD movies. Since a VCD is on average about twice the size of a DivX for similar quality, then at the same Internet connection speeds it would take only two hours to download. In fact, there are still many IRC groups who prefer VCD download because when burnt to a CD-R they can be played on a standard DVD player. Two hours is nothing to someone who wants to watch the latest movie release. In fact eight hour downloads are sometimes considered quite reasonable. Most people with fast connection speeds are unable to turn off their Internet connection and could leave the movie downloading all night long! Fact is, if DivX didn't exist people would use VCD. In fact, they were using VCD long before DivX. If neither DivX nor VCD existed they'd use ASF or Real Player!

    Originally ASF was a much more popular format than VCD when it first came out because it was such a small size for the quality. You couldn't possibly say to Gej: "we are going to take legal action against you for contributing to Internet piracy!" That's totally ridiculous! If you accuse Gej of contributing to piracy because of a video compression you may just as well accuse Microsoft! Because, if DivX didn't exist, pirates would be mainly using ASF and that was Microsoft's baby. The same goes for MP3. Mp3 was created by the MPEG organisation. No one could possibly get away with taking legal action against the MPEG organisation for creating an audio compression format.

    Ah-ha! But what about taking action against Gej for stealing ASF and making his own format from it? This is yet another crazy suggestion! Many companies, including Microsoft, have copied someone else's "idea" and made their own version of it. You cannot copyright an "idea". Gej has never tried to sell DivX, he only seems to have made it as a "fix" for ASF. He never intended to sell it to anyone. The new Open DivX project has little to do with the ASF hack we all knew as DivX. Gej is now doing what Microsoft did originally, namely, getting the Mpeg-4 specifications and making his own completely legal version of Mpeg-4. I very much doubt Gej ever had plans on making his own video format until he found out how popular DivX had become.

    By now I think you are beginning to realise that neither DivX, MP3, MPEG-1, 2, 4 or any other compression format have anything to do with helping piracy and I can prove this with one final piece of reasoning: What if there was no such thing as audio and video compression? Pirates would still be able to download whole music albums in uncompressed digital format in under one hour with the fast internet connections!

    Of course movie downloads wouldn't be very common because they would take up many gigabytes of information! But again there is a serious flaw in this kind of reasoning too! Internet connection speeds are getting faster all the time! In ten years time it is more than likely, if not certain, that Internet download speeds will be so fast that whole movies could be downloaded completely uncompressed! And I'm quite confident that in only a matter of a few years speeds will get so fast that whole DVD will be able to be downloaded without too much trouble!

    You simply cannot base the accusation of piracy solely on how well a format can be compressed. If you did you'd have to outlaw every compression format including WinRAR and WinZip because their software makes it easier for pirates to exchange software!


    What is DeCSS?

    "[If the MPAA win] DeCSS will become the first computer program in history to be declared illegal!" - Jon Lech Johansen.



    15-YEAR OLD NORWEGIAN CRACKED THE DVD-CODE! That was the headline posted all over the world in the year 1999! They were, of course, referring to a young man named Jon Lech Johansen (who sometimes goes by the nickname MNX).

    An interesting headline wouldn't you say? That is, considering Jon had nothing to do with the actual cracking of the DVD code! Jon was, however, a member of the German Reverse Engineering group called MoRE (Masters of Reverse Engineering) and tells us: "the encryption code wasn't in fact written by me, but written by a German member. There seems to be a bit of confusion about that part". Nevertheless, Jon had put on his webpage a program called DeCSS which could be used to remove the CSS encryption code from a DVD. The following is the famous newsgroup message he gave when he was arrested:

    (above) Jon Lech Johansen

    "The National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime in Norway raided my home today and seized my Linux box, FreeBSD/Win2k box and Nokia cellphone. Not only I, but also my father has been indicted, since he owns the domain (webhotel) where my homepage(s) have been located. They also took me in for questioning which lasted 6-7 hours. It's 2 am CET now (I just got back), I haven't eaten, and someone's definitely going to pay for this. I have shut down my old email account, and I'm now using - More information coming tomorrow, once I've talked to my lawyer."

    Later the GILC, a coalition of civil rights groups throughout the world (notably including the EFF), condemned the action as a violation both of the Human Rights Accords of the United Nations and the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

    Taking the Nokia cellphone may seem overkill but strangely enough Jon later admitted, "I did have, in fact, a backup of the [DeCSS] source on it".

    Despite the headlines claim that he single handily cracked the CSS code Jon comments: "I never told the media that I had cracked the DVD encryption. What I told them, was that we (MoRE) had made an app called DeCSS which would decrypt DVD movies and let them be played off your HD, or off DVD-Rs if you have a DVD burner. I always used "we" and "MoRE" when talking to them. I never said anything about me or my position in the group. Now that the storm is over, I see that all they [the news reporters] were after, was to get a big story. They even included some of "my" quotes, which I never said. When media starts making up stuff, it's really sad. I know that this has been done before in Norwegian media, regarding the co-operation between a computer group at my school and the school people in charge of the network. All I can say is that I'm very sorry that the media twisted my words, and even lied, to make it appear as I had done the cracking myself. I'm pretty sure that I will do everything to avoid the media in the future, but if I'm forced to talk with them, I'll have to get them to sign an agreement. Again, I apologize on the behalf of Norwegian press, and I hope that this document will make everything clear. The truth shall set you free."

    In regards to the police actions Jon says: "IMHO, the only reason they seized my computers was in order to try to track down the two other members of MoRE…But I don't have the identity of any of them. I only had the nicks that they used on Internet Relay Chat…they have been changing nicks from time to time. So I gave one of the nicks they had used before. They are both a lot older than me and they are employed. So I guess they just didn't want the publicity, and they were perhaps afraid of getting fired".

    Surprising as it may sound, DVDs were being decoded to Hard Disk long before DeCSS had appeared. There was a hacked version of the Xing DVD player that could save the data rather than just playing it. This didn't require knowing the CSS code because Xing had it built in. I think it was called DVDRip but that name doesn't sound correct? Anyway, MoRE were not even the first to actually crack the DVD code! This was done by a hacking group called DoD (Drink or Die also called dEZZY), they produced DoD Power Ripper. Power Ripper had a few bugs in it to begin with and it couldn't extract complex titles such as The Matrix. Soon enough DoD found out what the problems were but hadn't, as yet, made a new version. It was at about this time that MoRE were working on DeCSS. Baffled by the same bugs DoD had, the German member of MoRE found out how DoD fixed their problems and this allowed the completion of DeCSS. DeCSS was officially the first utility to decode all DVDs including the Matrix. Then followed the second release of DoD Power Ripper, which was the second DVD ripper. Just before DeCSS was released MoRE had already sent the source code for the decryption to their contact in the Linux DVD community, Derek Fawcus. This is the reason why one of Wired's news reporters was put on the case.

    DeCSS and Power Ripper soon had their downfall. The manufacturers of DVDs caught on to DeCSS and changed the main key codes used for them. This made DeCSS and Power Ripper almost useless at decoding all but early DVDs. Nevertheless, soon enough another application appeared called VobDec. VobDec didn't use Reverse Engineering or stolen codes like DeCSS and Xing. It was merely a DVD code-breaker that hit the DVD with a cryptographic attack until it found the correct key! Since the DVD CSS code was so weak VobDec was able to break any DVD code in a matter of seconds! For this reason VobDec is technically a legal tool to use for backing up DVDs in most countries.


    Why Were DVDs Encrypted with CSS?

    CSS stands for Content Scrambling System. The movie data on every DVD is encrypted so the information on a DVD cannot be copied or played in any player except the ones specified by the CSS code and DVD region codes. It blocks all the skip and fast-forward commands on all DVD players so adverts and copyright notices cannot be skipped. Ever wonder why you cannot skip past the DVD disclaimer? That's CSS at work! In fact, the DVD CCA's license for CSS explicitly forbids its licensees from making a DVD player with an ability to skip such adverts.

    Hackers laugh at the CSS encryption scheme because it is so amazingly easy to break! In spite of what the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA*) say CSS encryption was not initially designed with hackers or pirates in mind! DVDs do not need to be decrypted in order to be pirated; it's just a matter of copying the whole DVD with all the CSS encryption intact like you would copy something on a photocopier. Don't believe me? If you have a DVD CD-Rom put in your DVD and press play on PowerDVD (or any DVD player you have). That's it! You can now copy all the contents from the DVD to your hard disk in its fully CSS scrambled form. This is common knowledge, and, if you knew what you were doing, and had a DVD-R writer, you could just burn that DVD without ever cracking the CSS code! In the past big time pirates have used expensive professional video recorders with AGC gain correction to get around VHS Macrovision. In a similar way big time offshore pirates would no doubt invest in the same "presses" DVD manufacturers use to produce DVDs.


    * the MPAA is the Motion Picture Association of America, it includes Sony, Universal, MGM and Warner Bros.


    The Real reason for CSS!

    The CSS system is not a copy protection system because it does not prevent copying. So what was it designed for? In short, to corner the market! The main reasons are twofold, first to ensure that DVD prices are always as high as possible in every country and secondly to monopolize the DVD player market.

    Let's take the first reason: to keep prices high. The CSS system uses region codes, these are:

    Zone 1: United States, Canada
    Zone 2: Europe, UK, Japan, South Africa, Middle East, Greenland
    Zone 3: Hong Kong, East & Southeast Asia
    Zone 4: Australia, Pacific Islands, New Zealand, South America, Caribbean
    Zone 5: Russia, Indian Subcontinent, North Korea, Africa, Mongolia
    Zone 6: China

    These zones prevent anyone from importing DVD's from other countries, because unless the DVD CSS region code is set for that country the DVD will not play! Since the MPAA usually control the release of movies so that they are released half a year later to the rest of Europe than they are in the USA, they are able to control the prices people pay for their movies.

    Believe it or not we are actually being charged much more than a DVD costs after normal profit margins. In fact DVD production is quicker and easier than the old VHS tape! So, instead of giving people a fair deal they want to charge them as much as they think they will pay. This means poorer countries, such as India, are only charged a fraction of the price the rest of Europe are. Unless a CSS encryption system was incorporated into the DVDs it would be possible for someone in Europe to import a load of Indian DVDs and not need to pay the extra money! Such price fixing practices are known as 'price discrimination' and are considered illegal according to U.S. and international law. But if the movie industry can convince the world that CSS is only to stop PC pirates then this smokescreen would prevent anyone from noticing it!

    Not only are the European DVDs more expensive to buy but the quality is often much less than the original USA versions. They are often either bad conversions or without many (or any) extra features. Normally I'd urge you to combat this trend by buying only region free DVD Players to play your DVD CD's. Region free DVD players can play any region of DVD and ignore region codes completely. But this is a little more complicated nowadays!

    Since manufacturers have been trying to make region free "world" zone DVD players the whole movie industry is trying to force them to stop. One new trick is to make use of the CSS properties again. I've never seen a DVD like this, but apparently when you put these new type of DVD CDs in your 'region free DVD player', the CSS code sends all region codes to it at once. If the DVD player accepts them all then the CSS mechanism will stop it from playing! If the player rejects all but one then it will continue to play. This means that it would be impossible to play any of these new DVDs in a region free DVD player! In short, you may find that buying a region free DVD player results in you not being able to play any DVD!

    This whole marketing scam alone is destined to give rise to greater DVD piracy (if it exists yet) because people always want to get a copy of the newest releases from America. Movie piracy would be cut very dramatically if all movies came out everywhere at the same time! The prices would be cheaper and people would not see the need to buy them from pirates. The only common pirate movies then would be those taken from the conspicuous people in the dark raincoats who sneak into the cinema to record the movie before it comes out. And even then, if people did get these pirate movies, they'd still want the high quality DVD when it came out. So that is the first reason that DVDs have the CSS code.

    The second major reason is to do with: DVD players. This brings us back to the story of Jon Lech Johansen, the kid who was said to crack the DVD code. Even after being arrested he said:

    "I do not regret posting DeCSS. It's very important that we stand up against these multibillion corporate interests who seek to dominate with their proprietary standards. It's in consumers interest to be able to make a free choice from whom or where to buy products."

    "My father used to be a politician and has among other things fought against communism and suppression in Poland, 10 years ago. In his opinion, the large multinational corporations are as great a threat to people's freedom as communism. He supports me 100 percent."


    What were Jon's reason for creating DeCSS?

    MoRE wasn't a known warez group like DoD. Jon tells us the reason MoRE wanted to create DeCSS was to help make a DVD player that could be played on a Linux machine. This is a believable story considering the fact that at the time no DVD player existed for the Linux. And since Microsoft were the monopoly no player seemed to be planned. Without DVD support Linux would soon become less and less popular as an operating system and so would increase the popularity of Windows. The only hope for anyone to play a DVD on their Linux was to try and decode it themselves.

    The MPAA obviously completely refute this idea and say that it's easy enough for anyone to buy the rights to create their own "legal" DVD player for any OS system. A valid argument of course! But how easy was it 'really' to get a license? It was already known for some small "unknown" companies to be denied a license. But assuming a license was agreed a licensee must pay a security payment of between $750,000 and $1 million bucks, which would be forfeit if the license was ever breached. Additionally, it is said that the DVD CAA (a supposed non-profit industry association) would also require a 6% royalty fee on all sales! At the end of the day the chances seemed very very slim for a Linux DVD player anytime soon!

    The MPAA say this is besides the point and that "the De-CSS utility was written for Windows-based software, not Linux". Jon Johansen had answered this question a while ago when he said: "While this [DeCSS] was being worked on, Linux did not have UDF support [the filesystem used on DVDs]. It was thus natural to implement it under Windows in order to test if it actually worked. Yes, I've used Windows, nobody's perfect".

    This is obvious to any programmer. If you are going to reverse engineer a DVD you need to be able to read it! And since Linux OS cannot even read a DVD how was it possible to create a DVD player on Linux?! Of course the MPAA could easily say that he was lying and it was their word against his. But regardless of who is telling the truth, this issue has been the catalyst to what has exposed some of the 'slightly-dodgy' dealings of the movie industry. And perhaps that is why they are really so angry?!

    American law seems to indicate that the MPAA shouldn't have taken any action against poor old Jon anyway. Accoring to the 1998 United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act section 1201(f) 'reverse engineering of a copy-protection encryption system is legal for reasons of "interoperability" between computer systems.' [italics mine]. Which was exactly the reason Jon needed to reverse engineer the code. But what fear inspiring power the MPAA possess to be able to attack someone who was not even in their own country!

    Nevertheless, this seems to illustrates the situation perfectly. Although the CSS encryption allows heavy control over DVD prices, CSS' primarily reason for existing seems to be to prevent anyone from making a DVD player without a license from the MPAA. Everyone who makes a DVD player must pay money to them and abide by their region zone regulations. They get royalties not only for every DVD we purchase, but also for every DVD player produced, be they hardware or software based players. The movie industry will continue to put the fear of god into anyone who mentions DeCSS because it could give rise to a whole influx of "rogue" DVD players like the one that was planned by Jon Lech Johansen and MoRE. The MPAA seem to be in a sticky situation now because they didn't even consider the possibility that the reason someone would crack the DVD code would be an honest one! As I meantioned before, copyright law doesn't allow the copyright of an "idea". And now that the DeCSS has been posted so much in the public domain, there doesn't seem to be much that can stop DVD players from being produced without a MPAA license!


    Napster, IRC & Other File Sharing Software

    Napster is a utility that connects people's computers together and lets them exchange audio files. If you have Napster it will take a list of every MP3 file on you computer and let everyone else who has Napster installed see them and download them. Likewise, you are able to see the list of MP3 files found on everyone else's computers and download them. Other popular file exchange programs were made soon after Napster but the big ones were CuteMX and Scour Exchange. These applications did exactly the same as Napster, but instead of just listing MP3s, they listed anything! Zip, rar, exe, all video formats, audio formats etc., anything you had on your computer system.

    Most consider Napster to be the big evil beast! But in fact IRC has been the most responsible application when it comes to exchanging pirated Movies, Audio or Software! People were trading MP3's on IRC many years before Napster existed, and IRC will probably still exist long after Napster and all these other small programs have been shut down!

    IRC, for those who don't know, stands for Internet Relay Chat. The most popular free IRC application is called mIRC. mIRC is a little like "AOL in a box"; anyone in the world can chose a nickname (called a nick) sign on with mIRC and bring up lists of chat rooms. When they see a chat room they like they can double-click on it and start chatting. But mIRC also has an option where you can send files to each other directly via the Internet.

    The main difference between Napster and mIRC is that Napster is advertised as:
    A file exchange program that allows you to chat!

    Whereas mIRC is advertised as a:
    A chat program that allows you to exchange files!

    What a minute! What did I just say?! Don't both adverts describe "exactly" the same thing?! Well, that's why there is so much confusion. While some are trying to annihilate Napster and Scour because they are, quote: "file exchange" programs. No one (as far as I know) has attempted to destroy mIRC, which has done almost exactly the same thing for years! Yes, on mIRC you can go into Warez or MP3z chartrooms and use a search command (such as @find or @locator) and find any music, video or software that anyone is offering for exchange!

    Now, to be fair, Napster and Scour have from the get-go been a fair bit easier to use than mIRC. But do you think its fair attack small companies like Napster because they are somewhat more user-friendly? Let's take CD-R software as an example. Adaptec Easy CD Creator is much easier to use, at least for the average person, than Golden Hawk's CDRWIN! It is absolutely amazingly easy to pirate music CDs using Easy CD Creator. This is not a skill but a basic function. A 12 year old could figure it out without any training. I know this for a fact because I have a young cousin who knows how to use Easy CD. But most will be totally confused by CDRWIN.

    Now, according to the same mentality, we must assume that it's perfectly fine to destroy a reputable company such as Adaptec because they make piracy so easy, but to leave CDRWIN alone because their software is harder to use! How can you attack Napster because its so easy to use while ignore mIRC because its slightly harder.

    Lets assume the music industry decided to attack Adaptec because of Easy CD creator for contributing to piracy. What would they say? Something like: 'we just make software that is able to copy CD's or let you make your own. It's the people who use them for piracy. If we made kitchen knifes we couldn't be held responsible for a man who uses them to kill others!'

    In the same way, IRC is a "chat" program. No one wants to do anything about it because so many people use it for chatting. They will not speak out against a chat program even though it's used to exchange pirated music, videos and software.

    Chat Rooms
    Instant Messages
    File Exchange
    File Searching
    mIRC yes yes yes yes
    Napster yes yes yes yes
    Scour yes yes yes yes
    CuteMX yes yes yes yes




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