Over at Dan Mitchell's Digital Tremors column on our news blog, the Snitch, there's an interesting debate brewing over the recording industry's response to some piracy advocates' claims that its employees downloaded music and other files illegally. Mitchell's take is that while disputing these claims should have been easy, "the RIAA, as is its wont, nevertheless made itself look completely stupid in its response."
It's a fascinating read:
TorrentFreak, a news site that basically supports illicit downloading, last week used a half-assed ISP-lookup service to conclude that employees of both the Recording Industry Association of America and the Department of Homeland Security had downloaded illicit copies of various copyrighted works, including episodes of the Showtime series Dexter, and songs by Jay-Z and Kanye West. The site had earlier made similar charges against several big media companies.
These accusations are far from solid. TorrentFreak, as its name implies, essentially promotes and defends piracy.
The editor goes by "Ernesto." If Ernesto hadn't found any evidence that didn't support his thesis, he wouldn't have written anything. It wouldn't have fit his agenda. And any evidence that he does find, he's going to play up for all it's worth, even if it's worth next to nothing.
The lookup site Ernesto used, YouHaveDownloaded, is even sketchier. The Russia-based site is full of wackiness, like the bio of its main tech dude, Ruslan K., who says: "Ruslan has a vision and I'm ready to bet $100,000 against a candy that he'll be on the very top of the Internet mountain in 5 years." And the site's main man, Suren Ter, responded in the site's comments section to criticism of its accuracy by asserting: "The site is just for show."
It's impossible to tell how accurate the site is, but all available information points to: Not very...