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Demon Annoyed

2007_10_2demonoid_sm.jpgCanadians can no longer access, the world’s second-most popular BitTorrent tracker. According to a statement on Demonoid’s website, legal action treatened by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) has forced them to block connections from Canada. This can only be seen as a major victory for the CRIA. Thanks to them, it is no longer possible to download pirated music off the internet…unless, of course, you happen to live outside of Canada, or you can figure out how to type “” or “” into your web browser. Congratulations, CRIA, that’s some lawyering money well-spent. Good on ya.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the CRIA, it is “Canadian” only in the sense that its main job is representing the Canadian interests of big international labels such as Warner Music, Universal, and Sony BMG. It is our equivalent to the U.S.’s RIAA, who are famous for intimidating college students, music-loving little girls and disabled single mothers with huge lawsuits. The CRIA has claimed, at times, to represent the companies who sell 95% of the music made and sold in Canada, but they actually only represent a tiny sliver of Canadian artists. Most of the major Canadian independent labels left the organization last year, citing a number of differences with the major label gang.
The CRIA also made the news last month when they reversed course on fifteen years of their own policy of supporting the private copying levy. That’s the surcharge we all pay on blank CDs, DVDs, and now iPods, which is then redistributed back to artists. It seems that the big labels suddenly realized that the surcharge on iPods implicitely legalizes P2P file sharing in Canada. That is, if it’s not legal already.
It’s easy to see who the CRIA is protecting, and it’s not artists. Detailed ecomonic analysis has demonstrated that the vast majority of artists benefit financially from downloading. It is only the rich few at the very top who suffer.
No economic argument, however, is likely to persuade the CRIA. They will continue to threaten lawsuits and lobby for changes to Canada’s copyright laws instead of finding new ways to embrace technology and promote artists through file sharing. Some people have compared the strategy of threatening torrent companies one-by-one to trying to fix a leaky dike by sticking your finger in the holes. That’s not a good analogy at all. In reality, it is closer to trying to stop a river by wading into it with a paper cup. Not only is the effort doomed to failure, it’s impossible not to look like an idiot in the attempt.
Oh, well—at least Michael Moore gets it.


  • rek

    Combating P2P and torrenting is more like cutting a head off the Hydra.

  • qeust

    No argument of “torrents are not inherently evil and it can be a great way to promote music/video/etc talent and content” holds any water. Torrent sites are by and large (meaning over 99%) filled with copyrighted content that is not legally being distributed. Taking Demonoid down may not amount to anything (hello mininova, oink, etc) but to not do anything would be silly. Albums aren’t any more overpriced than they were 10 years ago, BEFORE torrent sites, and people had no problem paying for music back then.
    That said, if you want to use your demonoid account, just go through a free online proxy like, durr.

  • andrew

    If you try to argue that torrents are inherently evil, then I would suggest you need to redefine evil so as not to include piracy. Given the amount of death and misery occurring on a daily basis throughout the world, statements like that are flippant and insulting. May I suggest you start at home, and consult with your local rape crisis shelter as to a working definition of evil?

  • rek

    Torrent sites do not contain copyrighted movies or music. They contain a list of directions where to find those things. Shutting down sites like that is akin to arresting publishers of yellow page directories for listing where people can go to shoplift. And that would be a silly waste of time.

  • guest

    I read the linked article about the six indie labels leaving the CRIA.
    The dispute was over the CRIAs proposal to request an increase in Cancon requirements on radio stations to 35%. The indie labels were mad as they want it to be 45%. I think this is ridiculous.
    For me, well over 50% of the music I listen to on my ipod is from Canadian (even Toronto) singers and bands. On the radio though, Cancon means, during the brief gaps between commercials, playing the same Jan Arden and Sarah McLaughlin songs from the 90′s OR “new music from Nelly Furtado” from her two year old album over and over again all day.
    Cancon regulations are not giving us the Canadian content that hard working and extremely talented Canadian artists are producing! It’s just giving us the same 10 year old crap day after day!


    You can still access the tracker, just not the website. Seeing how essentially all of their torrents have been reposted on other sites anyway, the block is useless.

  • guest

    To clarify a few issues in Mr. Hunt’s article there is no levy on DVDs and the levy on digital audio recorders, such as iPods, has been proposed but not yet approved by the Copyright Board of Canada. A hearing has been scheduled for April.
    The private copying levy does not legalize P2P file sharing. While the Copyright Act states that it is not an infringement of copyright for individuals to make a copy onto an “audio recording medium” for their own private use, it does not permit the sharing of those copies with millions of people through the Internet – private copies must, by definition, remain private.
    The payment of the private copying levy is also not a passport to steal the source material. “Copying” should not be confused with “gaining access” to the material to be copied. The fact that one is allowed to copy a musical work does not mean that the original sound recordings themselves are suddenly free.
    David Basskin, Director of the Canadian Private Copying Collective

  • Ben

    What a pointless useless gesture. Anyone savvy to Torrents would know how to go elsewhere, or workaround this crap.
    Those poor fools at the CRIA don’t get it.
    Tip: you can use “filetype:torrent” in google much like you would use “filetype:pdf”.

  • Ken Hunt

    A great open letter to the CRIA that came across digg today: