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60 Minutes: The Mexican Mafia & BitTorrent?

A Case of Bad Reporting or MPAA Scheme?

I honestly don’t know if accused movie pirate Gerardo Arellano is really somehow connected to organized crime.  I also don’t know if organized crime is behind the selling of pirated DVDs out of car trunks.  The 60 Minutes expose provided no evidence.

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I do know this: there is no motivation whatsoever for organized crime to be distributing movies via BitTorrent technology.  No one makes a penny off of file transfers via BitTorrent (except maybe the company called BitTorrent, Inc. which has a legal business selling certain videos).  Studios which rent and sell movies online do so through stores such as iTunes, which provide convenience to customers and income to studios.  But there is no organized crime department at iTunes, there is no way for organized crime to profit from online file transfers. If BitTorrent movie pirating is as successful as CBS News and the MPAA claims it is, organized crime would be competing against itself: selling pirated movies on the street, while at the same time giving them away for free on the internet. 

Grandma and grandpa are getting misinformation and don’t even realize it.

CBS News reporter Lesley Stahl and producer Tom Anderson should be embarrassed for having aired this story.  They implied that organized crime is behind internet file sharing.  They never talked to anyone for an opposing point of view (BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen, or the Electronic Frontier Foundation would both have been excellent choices).  And they never mentioned the fact that the MPAA spends millions of dollars on lawsuits in which they end up collecting only thousands of dollars in settlements, in what I can only describe as publicity stunt litigation.  

As the late Walter Cronkite rolls in his grave, I’m left wondering what happened here.  Have CBS News and 60 Minutes reached a level of incompetence that makes it impossible for them to know that organized crime does not give away stolen goods?  Are they so out of touch with technology that putting pieces of a file back together, something which WinZip has done since the early 1990s, sounds like brain surgery?

Personally, I find it hard to believe that CBS News and 60 Minutes have become this inept.  Unfortunately, the only other possible conclusion, is that what I watched Sunday night was a biased, intentional, and unforgivable 12 minute long Public Service Announcement for the MPAA. 

  • lashton
    it does sound stupid, organised crime giving stuff away for free, those are everywhere they are called CAM's or TS
    Reply
  • Neggers
    They ran a simular story in Australia about 6-12months back, on our program A Current Affair, except instead of the Mexican Mafia, they were saying that Terrorists were profiting from Pirated movies and software.
    Its just a bullshit scare campaign from the Music and Movies industry to try and scare people into not downloading stuff.
    Reply
  • notanakin
    Unfortunately you'll often find that when mainstream media talk about a subject that you know about, their level of knowledge is abysmal. Makes you wonder how reliable they are on the subjects that you don't know about....
    Reply
  • triplanetary
    Typical of the mainstream media. They could go to the trouble of researching their stories or providing multiple viewpoints, but they know their audience. They know that the majority of their audience is ignorant about technology beyond how to use email, so they're not going to waste their money providing an in-depth look at a technological matter.

    But tying Internet piracy to organized crime is just ridiculous. Torrent piracy consists of a bunch of computer nerds providing content for no profit beyond the perceived size of their e-penis.
    Reply
  • Seriously! I love toms hardware! I didn't think you were into comedy, but I just finished watching the clip! Wonder what she would call TCP/IP technology!?! That was seriously entertaining. Thank you!
    Reply
  • jsc
    Shows you how technically literate the MSM really is.
    Reply
  • wira020
    Well, i dont really think that Mafia boss would do jobs on its own.. at least not in movies...
    Reply
  • r0x0r
    Personally, I find it hard to believe that CBS News and 60 Minutes have become this inept.

    It's not just CBS and 60 minutes, it's pretty much all the news outlets nowdays that cater to the lowest denominator instead of journalistic integrity.

    My advice? Ignore the (mainstream) news and current affairs. Seriously. I did this 5 years ago (when I was 21) and let me tell you it has done me the world of good. Less bullshit = less stress = more time for useful things.
    Reply
  • ap90033
    Typical mainstream media crap. You are suprised? I have known this for years, they arent mainstream anymore they are the "Fringe" media. I know I will probably get some hate for this but its true. Fox is much more balanced, they typically give you multiple views from multiple people/sources. Helps to get an fair and balanced news. :)
    Reply
  • lowguppy
    Its true. Only old people watch 60 minutes.
    Reply