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Dear PIPA and ACTA, I Hate You

Piracy is an enormous problem, without a doubt. So I’m just going to jump into things right off the bat and begin by stating something that I haven’t heard anyone say so far regarding PIPA and ACTA: There are numerous other problems that are exponentially worse. Sure, piracy is a crime, but if it gets “omitted,” will that change the world for the better? I can, off of the top of my head, dish out a list of better causes that drops to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

1. Solve world hunger

2. Shelter the homeless

3. Solve global warming issues

4. Stop aids

5. Stop breast cancer

6. Stop any disease

7. Increase literacy rates

8. Stop oil starvation

9. Population control

10. Solve poor/rich distribution of wealth

This, I will not deceive you, is a list conjured from a pile of rubbish I thought up in thirty seconds. Although all of the above can be debated widely, the point is nonetheless clear: THERE ARE NUMEROUS AMOUNTS OF GREATER PROBLEMS THAN PIRACY!

Now, let me begin with the comparisons. There is a vast array of countries that prohibit piracy, and America is one of them (obviously). Now, my question to you, the reader, is “what is the only major country that piracy is not frowned upon?” Allow me to give you a hint or two: It’s a world superpower, it’s located in Asia, and over 95% of the goods sold in America derive from there. That’s right, you’ve guessed it! China!

Amazingly, real copies of things are harder to find than burnt ones! If one were to walk into a video store and attempt to browse their selection, you could find any movie without a doubt. Why? Because everything is burned, my good friend! Every movie you could possibly imagine, burned on a previously blank DVD that is now titled with a sharpie. Same goes for video games, programs, and just about any other form of data. What’s more amazing is that if the price is put into equivalent of the United States economy, the average movie would only cost you a whopping fifty cents! That’s right, the latest and greatest for only half of a dollar. Prices vary depending on how big the file is and how difficult it was to burn; still, the most expensive piece of data (if applied to our economy, once again) would be no more than five dollars.

Now, could you even possibly imagine how excellent it would be if you were only asked to dish out fifty cents for the newest blockbuster hit? Well I’d say that you don’t need to pirate whatsoever, because data doesn’t cost ridiculous amounts. Doesn’t it chafe you at least the tiniest bit knowing that a Chinese citizen only spends eight minutes out of his minimum-wage paycheck to purchase the newest release while you work for three plus hours to buy the “original” copy of that same exact movie? I assume it does. And the list doesn’t end there! Xbox 360 games, PS3 games, PC games, all programs, operating systems, and just about anything else you can imagine, all for under five dollars.

China, considered to be one of the most communist and controlled countries on Earth, condones piracy while America, said to be one of the freest and most prosperous countries in the world, does not? My fellow reader, if there is one thing I ask of you it is that you at least consider the possibility of betrayal by the American system and that you will also consider making a stand for yourself.

Long live free-world. – Great Forum for Knowledge

5-10-11: Initial release.

Every now and then, I get a user who keeps on asking me if I know of any “great” forums for them to expand their knowledge.  Because as we all know, sometimes the best kept secret cannot be found on a regular website, but has to be found in the underground like in some discreet IRC room or perhaps a forum in which no one knows exist.

The biggest problem I see myself is how does a person even know how to find a particular forum, let alone randomly search for it?  Today I bring to you a small piece of knowledge that I gained over the years. I don’t remember how I found this forum, but it was another fellow Internet user that made me stumble across it, and this was back in 2004 era. 😛

I bring to you, which is a forum of miscellaneous knowledge. If you are looking for specific links to quench your need, they got it there. Any type of media you are looking for might be found at this website. Granted, I haven’t had an itch to visit a forum like this because many of the links you will find are rapidshare, mediafire, or other similar type sites. Still, I know some people are blocked from torrents, so a forum like this could be helpful in their quest.

So if you are looking for a new forum to brush up on some knowledge, or the places you are currently subscribe continue to suck, then look no further than Let me know what you think about it! Thanks!

[STD] Why Some Gamers Are Smarter Than Others (Financial Wise)

Gaming Cabinet

Define STD: STD for The Underground Blog is short for Savvy Tech Dude/Dudette. The STD story is my attempt to share some insight into some of my practices, as well as others as to how they are using technology to make their life better, saving money, or perhaps bettering the environment. (Hopefully, I can find a female contributor… 🙂 )

Frequency of Story: When it feels right.

Personal Comment: I really love the STD idea, and with topics so broad, I can go anywhere with this series. The question is, how far down the rabbit hole do you and I want to go? 😛

In the meantime, I encourage all forms of interaction. Please sound off in comments, I’d appreciate it. If you have an idea, or want me to consider something different, I will. If you want to spread the word, be my guest. As time goes along, I’m asking for people to contribute, or if you want to be interviewed (I’ll protect your identity), then we can dig deeper. Please consider my offer, thanks!

Read the rest of this entry

All Right, Software Piracy For the Win or Lose?

Let’s face it.  Software piracy has always been around since the days that people figured out they could copy 3.5″ floppy disks.  With the advent and proliferation of the availability of the Internet, some will argue that is made software piracy even worse.  A lot of the viewers of this blog have experienced or know about software piracy.  I myself have dabbled in parts of it too.  Let’s dive a little bit into why people pirate software, when everyone knows from a moral standpoint it is just plain wrong.  This is story number 4…

Software pirates, don’t chew me out! Read on to find out more.

Top 10 Pirated Games of 2008

Looking for something to download this X-mas season?  What better way to get a choice than checking out the top 10 pirated games of 2008!  According to Shacknews, the top 10 pirated games of 2008 is below.

  1. Spore / 1,700,000 / Sept. 2008
  2. The Sims 2 / 1,150,000 / Sept. 2004
  3. Assassins Creed / 1,070,000 / Nov. 2007
  4. Crysis / 940,000 / Nov. 2007
  5. Command & Conquer 3 / 860,000 / Mar. 2007
  6. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare / 830,000 / Nov. 2007
  7. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas / 740,000 / Jun. 2005
  8. Fallout 3 / 645,000 / Oct. 2008
  9. Far Cry 2 / 585,000 / Oct. 2008
  10. Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 / 470,000 / Oct. 2008

Now are you surprised that Spore tops the list? It had a lot of hype, and people were disgusted with the DRM protection on it.  Of course people are going to get the pirated version of it.  Hell, the only people that suffer in this escapade are the people who buy the game since they are stuck with the 3 limit acivation on Spore.

Now Pro Evolution Soccer 2009? Whatever.  I didn’t think a soccer game could be that popular.  Anyone remember the Fifa series? ;0

What do you think?  What games have you tried off this list?  Give us your short review of what you think is good to get this X-mas season. ;0

Rockin’ Friday! – ’10 Inconvenient Truths’

Marty Friedman -Ex Member of Megadeth

Hello everyone! This week I will reply to this site I found about music piracy, simply titled ‘Music Piracy – Ten Inconvenient Truths.’ I found this on the ‘IFPI’ site, which represents the worldwide recording industry. Here are the 10 inconvenient truths it listed:

1. Pirate Bay, one of the flagships of the anti-copyright movement, makes thousands of euros from advertising on its site, while maintaining its anti-establishment “free music” rhetoric.

2., the well-known Russian website, has not been licensed by a single IFPI member, has been disowned by right holder groups worldwide and is facing criminal proceedings in Russia.

3. Organised criminal gangs and even terrorist groups use the sale of counterfeit CDs to raise revenue and launder money.

4. Illegal file-sharers don’t care whether the copyright infringing work they distribute is from a major or independent label.

5. Reduced revenues for record companies mean less money available to take a risk on “underground” artists and more inclination to invest in “bankers” like American Idol stars.

6. ISPs often advertise music as a benefit of signing up to their service, but facilitate the illegal swapping on copyright infringing music on a grand scale.

7. The anti-copyright movement does not create jobs, exports, tax revenues and economic growth – it largely consists of people pontificating on a commercial world about which they know little.

8. Piracy is not caused by poverty. Professor Zhang of Nanjing University found the Chinese citizens who bought pirate products were mainly middle or higher income earners.

9. Most people know it is wrong to file-share copyright infringing material but won’t stop till the law makes them, according to a recent study by the Australian anti-piracy group MIPI.

10. P2P networks are not hotbeds for discovering new music. It is popular music that is illegally file-shared most frequently.

Now, I wish to to dispute a few of these comments, and add my own. Of course, I have no numbers to back me up, unlike the IFPI, and this is merely my opinion. If I’ve said anything that’s blatantly wrong, let me know in the comments and I’ll take it back. So here are my 10 inconvenient truths:

  1. (Point 1) The Pirate Bay making money through advertising has little to do with the “free music” it provides/advocates. Advertising companies pay the Pirate Bay for advertising space, and therefore Pirate Bay can afford to provide free stuff. Webcomics such as Ctrl-Alt-Del sell advertising space so they can afford to continue writing their comics and hosting them. The Pirate Bay making money in such a way means that they aren’t making money at anyone’s expense.
  2. (Point 3) Sure, counterfeit CDs can be sold to make money for criminals. But what money can they possibly make from free file-sharing?
  3. (Point 5) Reduced revenues for record companies and therefore reduced interest in underground bands just forces these underground bands to find other ways to get in touch with the people which these record companies are further alienating through their brutish attempts to control them. An example is the Arctic Monkeys, who, although now a huge UK band, started off gaining mainstream popularity through MySpace. Underground bands don’t need record companies to get popular if they’re good. ‘Bankers’ do.
  4. (Point 7) Anti-copyright movements mostly consist of the consumers who are getting more and more fed-up with the methods of organisations such as the RIAA. They may not know much about the economical aspect of the music industry, but they know a lot when it comes down to how their rights are being treated, hence the backlash.
  5. (Point 10) Anti-piracy campaigners often claim that it is the underground and small bands that suffer, yet how is this true if it is mostly the popular music that is downloaded?
  6. And if it is the popular bands that receive the most attention from pirates, surely they are also the ones most able to handle it financially?
  7. The most money a musician or band makes is rarely from album or single sales. Merchandise and Live performances are the true money-makers for most.
  8. Due to the way the consumer is being alienated by these organisations and record companies, musicians are finding other ways to get in touch, and those that don’t are losing popularity. Look at what happened to Metallica when they took on Napster. And now look at bands such as Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead, who are finding new ways to bring their music to the masses.
  9. Record companies and copyright organisations are, on the whole, still not realising the potential that the Internet provides financially, and therefore, rather than embracing it, they are trying to fight against something which is impossible to control. Again leading to the alienation of the consumer.
  10. The customer is always right 😉

Yeah, that’s all. Again, if I’ve made an incorrect claim, let me know. I have no agenda, just playing devil’s advocate 🙂

Rock on! \m/

[TiT] That’s It Tuesday – Issue 28

Tit bird
Hi underground visitors! Welcome to the twenty-eighth issue of TIT, or That’s It Tuesday! Every Tuesday, I, Versatile1, will give you a rant of whats going on in the blog, whats intended for the future, hope, dreams, etc.

I am back in action this week, and I’ve been pondering what to do with future articles. As you can see, every day almost there is a theme I try to adhere too, but after awhile it gets hard trying to pull things out of thin air. Or is it? The internet is full of useful information, right? Of course it is, otherwise I wouldn’t have wankers asking me about modding their consoles or asking how to find porn passwords. As both you and I know, this is useful information apparently.

What if I were to start a series something like “Confessions of a Pirate”, “Into The Mind of a Pirate”, “A Pirate’s Life”, etc where I would find someone to interview to talk about what it takes to be a technological pirate in the year of 2008. No, I’m not talking about pirates in the common sense like Jack Sparrow with parrots and pillaging, but a pirate like someone who:

  • Enjoys using the internet to get illegal copies of digital media through bittorrent, usegroups, IRC, Rapidshare, and etc.
  • Enjoys saving money and screwing the big time corporations out of their crappy products
  • Enjoys exploiting their hardware
  • Enjoys “free” software while smirking at those who buy for the same things
  • Enjoys living care free despite possible copyright infringement
  • Enjoys keeping hard drives full of digital media (CDs, or DVDs) in boxes or binders
  • Enjoys ripping DVDs and converting them to avi files or copying DVDs

The list goes on and on and on. Perhaps you want to learn the tactics of the pirate, or you want to understand their mentality. Or perhaps you think pirates are evil, and you want to voice your opinion. Sounds interesting? It does to me.

However, if I were to bring such a series to life, what does that mean for the blog? Will you consider us evil for providing such information? If I said I was a pirate, does that influence your view of me? What if I said I despise pirates? What then? Piracy is a big issue, don’t get me wrong. It requires ethics, and I’m sure a whole slew of other controversial ideas.

There are blogs/websites that specialize in Warez, we will not. Education is what I will strive for, so drawing a fine line between legal and illegal information is hard for me. We’ll see. If you think this is a badass idea, sound off in comments please. Just writing about this makes me excited. Thanks!

First Sale Doctrine == $null? && RIAA == /diffused?

Hey faithful Underground readers. Normally I would post a life post, unfortunately it’s going to have to be delayed one week.

Currently, I am undergoing a project which collects the landmark events of digital history relating to piracy, laws on the electronic frontier, and the serious lack of competence and open minds in authority and political figures in today’s world.

I stumbled across this post yesterday, and felt it was my duty to link it and spread the news as much as possible. It’s yet again, a prime example of the ludicrous behaviors we see from the very people we entrust our sustenance and security to.

Essentially, Universal Media Group is [quoted] “saying that merely by putting some fine print on a CD, it can effectively ‘own’ that CD forever.”

I’ll let you read the article and decide for yourself.

Another few day old piece of news, is posted here by the magnificent crew over at Ars Technica, about some interesting RIAA developments. This adds a great outlook on the recent Andersen vs. RIAA case from a few weeks ago:

[ Sources: Article stumbled upon @ Silicon ; LARGE PDF file of court case – RIAA working diffusal – ]

God speed, and Best wishes.