July 8, 2006

UK Parlimentary Piracy Report

The UK Government have just released their report on piracy - it doesn't make happy reading.
House of Commons - Transport - Eighth Report

Since 1992, there have been a total of 3,583 piratical attacks worldwide. This represents an increase from 1993 to 2005 of 168%. In the same period, 340 crew members and passengers died at the hands of pirates, and 464 received injuries. In 2005 alone piracy resulted in over 150 injuries and assaults and over 650 crew members were taken hostage or kidnapped.

These statistics may appear modest by contrast with the casualties suffered in other violent conflicts. But these attacks were not sustained in a violent conflict. They were suffered by innocent people travelling lawfully by sea. Even one such attack is one too many.
Technology designed to make life safer at sea has been used by pirates to locate and attack ships:
New technology designed to ensure that ships can be located at all times does, in the hands of pirates, has the potential to assist pirates to identify and track down high value cargoes and to attack vessels at sea. We want to know what the UK Government is doing to find out how pirates are gaining access to sophisticated technologies; and what it is doing to help to deny them the use of these technologies.

On the links between Piracy and possble terrorist threats:
Piracy provides a tempting and successful demonstration to terrorists of what can be achieved with relatively straightforward equipment and organisation. Well organised and determined terrorists could take control of a ship and use it to achieve terrible ends. Dangerous cargo could be seized and used as a weapon; the ship itself could be used as a weapon; hostages could be taken.

On the modern image of Piracy:
The popular image of piracy as a joke is redundant and has failed to keep pace with reality. The Government must now consider what imaginative and practical measures might be taken to broaden the public understanding of piracy as a brutal and cowardly crime.
It might be a good idea to encourage people to understand that a pirate is not someone who performs copyright theft , a pirate is not a joke and is not somebody who indulges in copyright violation theft or a spot of P2P downloading.

The report concludes by saying that the UK government is failing in its obligations to tackle Piracy:
What the Government must demonstrate is practical action that international cooperation is succeeding in making piracy a thing of the past. That is woefully lacking. So far from destroying piracy, it is growing; and the Government does not even know the scale of the problem. That is failure by any measure. The Government needs to demonstrate a new level of commitment in tackling piracy.

The Piracy problem has been growing for years unoticed - while the MPAA & RIAA have gone out of their way to brand any copyright violators "pirates" - the public has come to regard Piracy as a joke - meanwhile the Real Pirates have carried out their acivites unhampered.

Tip of the hat to wtwu Tags: , , , , ,

July 7, 2006

The Evil of Piracy

This article from The Times Online highlights the global problem caused by Real Pirates

Romantic gloss 'blinds public to the evil of piracy

PIRACY on the high seas, given a romantic gloss by films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, is a growing risk to seafarers, with 340 deaths since 1992.

The number of attacks has grown fivefold since the late 1980s, from 50 a year to more than 250 in each of the past seven years, according to a report by MPs. Last year there were 264 reported attacks, including an attempt to hijack the Seabourn Spirit, a cruise ship carrying British passengers, off Somalia.

More than 650 passengers and crew were taken hostage from ships last year; 152 were injured and 11 remain missing. Victims are often thrown overboard and left to drown. In 2003 British officers on board an Isle of Man-registered supply ship were held hostage until a ransom was paid.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Piracy - it isn't copyright theft and it isn't funny either.

Lets crack down on the Real Pirates.

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July 4, 2006

Freighter fights off pirates - Japanese freighter fights off pirates - Jul 4, 2006

The attacks raised concerns about a resurgence of piracy in the strait, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and a key link between Asia and Europe.

In the latest attack, pirates on an unlit speedboat off Indonesia's Sumatra island followed the 26,989-gross-tonnage Japanese ship and tried to board it from the stern, said Noel Choong, chief of the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur.
Yet more Real Piracy in Malyasia - luckily not as bad as other incidents.
He said no injuries were reported among the all-Indonesian crew aboard the two boats, but the pirates stole and damaged equipment on the first ship and robbed the crew of cash and personal belongings on the other. The ships had been chartered by the U.N. World Food Program.
Real Piracy is a real problem - not just some over hyped propaganda exercise by the RIAA/MPAA who are worried about copyright violation theft - and it needs to be tackled before it gets out of hand. Experience shows that tackiling piracy needs regular pro-active patrols by Navy and Coastguard to prevent attacks :
The Strait of Malacca had been one of the most pirate-infested areas in the world, but attacks fell to an all-time low last year after increased naval patrolling by Indonesia and its neighbors.
Piracy is a genuine problem in many parts of the world - its is a transnational crime that can be commited to a ship from any nation at any time.

Isn't it time the major maritime nations got together and formed an Anti-Piracy taskforce to gather and share information about the activities of pirates and to run regular patrols in the most affected areas?

Apart from the high cost of piracy on the high seas - piracy has also been linked with terrorism, gun running, drug smuggling and the trafficking of people for sexual purposes - what used to be called the "white slave trade" in the old days.

Piracy - it isn't copyright theft and it isn't funny either - lets crack down on the Real Pirates.

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May 29, 2006

Anti-Piracy Drive in Japan Coast Guard to establish anti-pirate team

The Japan Coast Guard will heighten efforts to deal with pirates in the Malacca Strait and other areas of Southeast Asia to protect Japanese ships against attacks, officials said. The coast guard will establish a five-member team of experts in anti-piracy issues, who will gather information from dangerous areas, analyze the data and come up with countermeasures. The information will be shared with shipping companies.

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Phillipines Piracy Charges

DAILY STAR: Top Stories

The five, who were reportedly heavily armed, were allegedly overpowered and nabbed by the crew of F/B Cadiz City, owned by businessman Steven Be, when they boarded their vessel in the waters off the coast of Isla Higantes in Iloilo.

Briones, on the other hand, claimed the five were volunteers of the Masbate Bantay Dagat and had boarded the vessel in waters near Gin-awayan Island in Masbate and not Isla Higantes in Iloilo.

He claimed Be, boat captain Sergio Escala Sr., Joseph Ariel Resquites and 35 crew members were responsible for the abduction, murder and attempted murder of Bantay Dagat volunteers of Masbate.

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May 13, 2006

Piracy issues tackled - National News Detail

Mumbai, May 12 (UNI) The fifth National Maritime Search and Rescue Board (NMSARB) meeting today discussed the preventive measures required to be instituted against pirate attacks in high seas and international waters and the development of low cost emergency transmitters for search and rescue operations.

Nice to see that real piracy is on the agenda rather than just some copyright theft ...

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February 22, 2006

New Approaches to Piracy

According to the Transnational Crimes blog, countries are finally getting together to fight against real pirates.

As Kenyan puts 10 suspected Somali pirates to trial, piracy concerns are causing countries to strengthen their transnational relations and to develop new strategies for dealing with maritime issues.

Countries such as Somalia, South Africa, the Phillipines, Thailand and Malaysia are recognising the real threat of real pirates on the high seas.

The economic cost of hijacked ships, the threat of rape and torture and the threat to human lives is much more important than the bogus war on "piracy" waged by the RIAA and their minions.

Maybe the RIAA should go after the real copyright thieves instead of children - but that would involve investigating the replication factories of the copyright violators - often in "friendly" third world countries .

It's much easier to attack students, mothers and children than upset the applecart by going for the real criminals who make millions of dollars a year from counterfeiting copyright goods - and you don't have to worry about the geopolitical fallout.

If the RIAA really wanted to get tough they go for the real offenders - black factories in low-wage countries where no questions are asked and getting 100,000 illegal copies of Madonna's new album is simply a matter of paying.

Once on the streets of any major city - London, New York, Bombay, Delhi or Madrid - these counterfeit copies are far more dangerous than any student, child or housewife "assumed guilty" of p2p filesharing.

Anyway consumers aren't even getting value for money from the RIAA - guess who is subsidising this "war on piracy" - the consumer.

Filesharing currently costs the media industry $48 million per month or $579 million per year in lost revenues. The total cost of unauthorized replication is $1129 million per year (the cost of filesharing plus the MPAA/RIAA's estimated piracy cost of $550 million per year).

But the RIAA and MPAA's tactics currently cost the media industry more — $189 million per month or $2265 million per year in lost revenues. Since the MPAA and RIAA cost them $1136 million more than the sum total of foregone piracy revenues they might prevent, the media industry is getting a bad deal.

'nuff said.


February 14, 2006

Piracy at Sea or Terrorism?

From Transnational Crimes Today.

In international waters, the line between piracy and terrorism is becoming blurred, with stark implications in the way the United States decides to take action. According to Vice Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, who was in Pittsburgh yesterday at the Soldiers & Sailors National Military Museum & Memorial, “[a]n international effort that includes the U.S. Navy has prevented potential terrorist attacks in Asian seas and waterways aimed at disrupting global commerce.”

When will people wake up and realise that the "piracy" metaphor is over hyped by the Big Media propaganda machine and that the abuse of the term "pirate" has now become rampant.

Now that "pirate" has become synonymous with "terrorist" - P2P users had better watch out - if somebody up there doesn't like you - then there is an all-expenses paid holiday hotel waiting for you in Cuba.


February 5, 2006

Operation Bahia Nets Illegal Treasure Hunters

I've been following this story in Diario De Cadiz for the last few days.

I find it very interesting - this is happening on my own doorstep after all - any mistakes in translation are mine - this comes from a Spanish newspaper.

In a crackdown against illegal treasure hunters in the "Gibraltar Straits" Spanish police and Guardia Civil have detained the boat "Louisa" on suspicion of illegal treasure hunting along the Atlantic coast of Spain.

According to a spokesman for the Spanish authorities today:

"The plunderers we have detained were very professional and very dangerous"

The investigators found portable computers, fragments of vases, 17th Century cannonballs and bags of musket shot that could have been used in the "Battle of Trafalgar"

The boarding party also found maps of archaeological sites and photocopies of documents from the "Archivo de Indias de Sevilla".

Worse - they also found five M16 rifles and a pistol - plus plenty of ammunition - I counted 15 clips in the picture published in the paper.

There's also a picture of what looks like a missile - I guess it's an underwater submersible of some kind - but it looks evil to anyone who doesn't know what it is.

As yet the Spanish authorities have only arrested 3 people - 2 Hungarians "SW" &: "HS' and a "North American" called "AJA" - I love the way Spanish media reports the names of suspects in initials - and are still looking for the owner of the boat - "MRA".

The reports continued:

These 21st Century pirates have their own tricks ... like double sleeved oxygen cylinders to hide the archaeological treasures they have plundered.

All for a haul that comprises of: 17th Century cannonballs, Roman anchors, the neck of a Phoenician amphora, a bag of bullets that could date from the Battle of Trafalgar - and a piece of old wood.

Right now the "Centre for Underwater Archaeology" is evaluating the finds to determine their valuation - but it's not just the valuation that matters.

Unfortunately for the illegal treasure hunters, this is not the best place in the world to try and look for treasure without being noticed.

The combination of illegal immigration and hashish smuggling from Morocco means that the Gibraltar Straits are one of the most heavily policed stretches of water in the world.

It's no surprise that the Spanish authorities have cracked down on these illegal treasure hunters - their heavily armed presence in the Straits of Gibraltar inevitably gives rise to accusations of drug and people smuggling - or worse.

The discovery of large amounts of arms and ammunition on board the "Louisa" will have done nothing to calm the fears of the Spanish authorities either.

I'm going to track this - I'd like to see how it's reported in the English speaking media as opposed to the Spanish media - there's a lot of differences between them.

Expect an update soon.


February 3, 2006

Platform Control vs Content Control

It is my belief - after the SONY DRM disaster - that the long term business plan of "BigMedia" companies is not just an attempt at "content lockdown" - the prevention of unauthorised copying of copyrighted media.

It is also my belief, in disagreement with other pundits, that this is not an attempt at "platform lockdown" - where you have to buy multiple copies of your media to play on alternative devices.

I now believe that the long term aim of the BigMedia companies is nothing more than "Content Lock-In".

Continue reading "Platform Control vs Content Control" »

January 24, 2006

US Sailors board Somali pirate ship

More on Piracy today, this time from Associated Press

.. the ship was an Indian merchant vessel that had been taken over by pirates and .. the vessel's master said he had been scared that the pirates would kill the crew.

Piracy is rampant off the coast of Somalia, which is torn by clashes between militias fighting over control of the troubled African country. Many shipping companies resort to paying ransoms, saying they have few alternatives.

How much money is paid in ransom every year to these pirates?

Given the high level of threat of violence it's not surprising they "resort to paying ransoms" - but I wonder - what happens to crews whose shipping companies refuse to pay ransoms?

Violence, intimidation and terror - these are the real tools of piracy - not the tools outlawed by the DMCA.

About time we tackled the piracy issue and renamed so-called "software pirates" something a bit more honest and less emotionally loaded.

The RIAA do not have to fire "warning shots" across the bows of "software pirates" nor do they lead armed boarding parties to capture "pirate" ships because there is a very real risk of death for the crew.

Unlike the sailors of the USS Churchill, they do no risk their lives in shark infested waters, except the sort of sharks that hang around Beverly Hills.

To equate "software pirates" with the real pirates who loot, kill, maim and rape with impunity in the waters of third world countries is an act of intellectual dishonesty designed soley to whip up sympathy for the hollywood fatcats who wish to foist ever more restrictive DRM arrangments onto the general public.


January 3, 2006

Piracy - The Forgotten Victims

An article in Wired today asks the question: Will Digital Cinema Can Pirates? before discussing the Digital Cinema System Specification which demands that:

every five-minute chunk of video must contain a 35-bit forensic marker specifying the date, time and location at which the movie is shown

If the latest plans by movie moguls will really stop piracy - then I support their efforts - if it could stop the type of piracy which is a concern to the International Maritime Organisation.

"Piracy" is defined in the 1982 United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (Article 101) as follows:

Piracy consists of any of the following acts:

(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:

(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;

(ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outsite the juristriction of any state.

(b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft.

(c) any act inciting or or intentionally facilitating an act descibed in subparagraph (a) or (b)

According to the BBC website in February this year:

According to experts there has been a sharp rise in the number of people killed at sea by pirates.

The International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting centre in Malaysia says 30 mariners were murdered in 2004 - half of them in waters off Nigeria.

That figure made the year one of the bloodiest since the centre started collecting statistics on piracy 15 years ago.

As the IMO says in the Piracy report up to the end of September 2005:

During the period under review the fate of 11 crew members is unknown - 27 crew members were held hostage or kidnapped, 15 crew members were assualted and 7 injured

We all know that "piracy" is dangerous - if you get caught - but meanwhile real people are suffering real piracy.

.. six robbers armed with machine guns and knives .. boarded the ship .. they overpowered the crew and took two crew members hostage ..

When the so-called "copyright pirates" invade the homes of the members of the RIAA and movie moguls with machine guns and knives - then it might be possible to call "copyright theft" piracy.

Until then I suggest they should find another name for it - like "copyright theft" or "copyright crime" - something a bit more honest and less emotionally loaded than the word "pirate".

Calling copyright violators pirates does a huge injustice to all the men and women who suffer and die every year at the hands of the real pirates.

Continue reading "Piracy - The Forgotten Victims" »