Cyber Protection – old racket, new names
The old Protection Racket had gangsters, thugs and baseball bats; the cyber version has rightsholders, lawyers and the law. The names have changed, but the roles and purpose have not – extortion under severe threat.
It works like this. The gangsters target a district – such as IP addresses they have seen at a particular site. The thugs, with just a vague wave of their baseball bats, obtain the home addresses of the targets. And then they move in, swinging their baseball bats and shouting out threats, demanding money with menaces.
The amount demanded in this extortion is carefully chosen. It is the maximum they think they can get without killing off the goose. It is high enough to make the whole racket worthwhile, but low enough to make payment preferable to being kneecapped by the baseball bat.
If you find yourself targeted and don’t want to pay up – whether you were actually at the gangsters’ chosen site or not – you had better be certain that the bat is weak or you have some powerful friends. Both is preferable.
Liuxia Wong is standing up to the gangsters (Hard Drive porn merchants) and its thugs (Hard Drive’s lawyers). She says she wasn’t there in the first place – but anyway your bat is weak and has a flaw. Technically, the flaw she has spotted is that you cannot copyright porn. The Copyright Clause of the Constitution allows Congress to use copyright “To promote the progress of science and useful arts…” Now, says Liuxia, since porn is neither science nor useful arts, it cannot be copyrighted. Your bat is weak and you cannot hit me with it…
She also has some powerful friends: EFF. The thugs ar trying to weaken these friends by name-calling. EFF, say the thugs, is “radical, quasi-anarchist, and intrinsically opposed to any effective enforcement of intellectual property” baseball bats…
Is she right or is she Wong? Is this a real flaw in the thugs’ baseball bat, or will the Makers of the Bats decide it is a false flaw and her friends irrelevant; and allow the gangster’s thugs to hit Liuxia very hard. Two things we can be certain about: if the bat is strong, many different gangsters with many different thugs will use it again and again on many different Liuxias; and if the bat is weak, the thugs will just find a new one. Until, and unless, the Controllers of the Makers of the Bats change the structure of the baseball bats so that they cannot be wielded by thugs in the employ of gangsters.