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.
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.