Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

Irony Always Wins

Every minute, ten thousand DVDs are downloaded from the internet. Piracy costs the RIAA billions of dollars each week. Every year, illegal copies of Adobe Photoshop produce twenty or thirty funny memes; but at a cost of literally frillions of dollars.

What to do, then? How do the trodden-upon global entertainment conglomerates fight back against stoned college students?

Well, that whole “sue kids for lulz” bit didn’t pan out. More recently, they’ve tried to lobby for so-called ‘three strikes’ laws, which require ISPs to ban customers who are caught downloading things illegally three times. The US has been unwilling to pass such laws, but has pressured other countries to give it a shot.

Some countries have passed ‘three strikes’ laws, including New Zealand; the Kiwis passed theirs as part of their emergency post-earthquake legislation, which was a bit strange. I mean, you guys have real problems, and then you decide to pass measures cracking down on internet pirates (that failed the previous year)? That’s pretty tasteless.

While I’ve seen enough disaster movies to know that basic human niceties fall apart in the aftermath of an earthquake, (as if they existed in politics to begin with! yuk yuk) no disaster, manmade or otherwise, can stop the inevitable, inexorable march of irony.

Melissa Lee is a member of the New Zealand parliament, who happened to vote for the three strikes law, and posted this to Twitter hours before delivering a speech in support of the three strikes law:

Even assuming MP Lee’s friend Jay ripped the songs from the K-Pop CDs himself (he probably didn’t), compiling them into a mix CD and distributing it to other folks is copyright infringement. A New Zealand newspaper, the National Business Review, has a lovely breakdown of why MP Lee is probably a dirty dirty pirate. She’s lucky she got her ill-gotten goods now, otherwise she’d apparently be up for a NZ$15,000 fine.

Of course, “lucky” is a relative term: I bet she wishes she didn’t have friends like Jay!