"Soon every lupin in the land, Will be in his mighty hand. He steals them from the rich, And gives them to the poor."*
I don't pretend to understand everything about Megaupload. In fact. I don't pretend to understand a lot. I know that, the other day, the Internet equivalents of the corner mom and pop - Google and Wikipedia - threatened to hold their breath until they turned blue if Congress restricted their access to...access or something. Having grown up in the vinyl era of music distribution, I'm aware that awful, evil, ruthless tycoon types conspire to make me buy stupid songs on an album with one great tune. Those charlatans had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the era of single-track downloads. I get that.
So when a person comes along who wants to fight for us little guys (and gals) and hold the conglomorates' tootsies to the blowtorch there is a side of me that roots for our champion. Until I read the story.
Are you kidding me? According to news stories, this overstuffed (alleged) thief's humble abode was entered by New Zealand cops armed with warrants. He refused them entry. Then he hid in a closet (I don't care what you call a panic room, it's still a closet). They hooked his used car - make that cars, and seized a bunch of other stuff. The big guy and his gang went to jail, at least for now, as international authorities unravelled a spider web of offices around the world. His response? The people who own the rights to these copyrights are greedy, and behind the times.
Wow. No suspect has ever blamed the victim before. This must be one smart guy.
Of course, self interest grabs one's attention like nothing else. I have two copyrighted literary works (as opposed to literate - as in literature) for sale which can be (or have been, depending on who you believe) pirated. I may get a lousy two bucks per copy, but after five years of work I'd like to take my long-suffering wife out for dinner. In short, I have two dogs in this fight. But I've hedged my bet by keeping my day job.
This evolving battle will not be won by princes of gluttony, any more than we can expect Congress to have any idea what to do. This will take decades of treaties, police work and court battles before anything approaching stability is reached. Until then - let's not make heroes out of narcissists who hide behind empty man-of-the-people expressions and then flee in a corporate jet to a 24 million dollar estate.
He ain't Errol Flynn.
*Monty Python's Flying Circus, (episode 37; aired 4 January 1973; recorded 17 April 1972).