Go ahead, break the law and join the club.
Like most other societal change, the Internet is involved. This time it’s an online partner in crime with heretofore law-abiding citizens who have gone bad, by the many millions. For instances:
— People are going online to pirate almost everything that can be moved electronically: movies, TV shows, books, music and computer programs. Photo Shop for free. Same price for Microsoft Office.
China leads the world in downloading pirated software: $8.9 billion a year.
The Business Software Alliance has published an astounding finding in its latest study of software piracy. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed admitted to using pirated software at least some of the time.
A law was passed in January to deal with piracy in Canada. If you’re downloading files illegally, you might now get a letter from your Internet service provider asking you to stop. Then what happens? Nothing, according to lawyers who have weighed in.
Illegal downloaders aren’t going to jail and they won’t be sued. It’s all busy-body bluster from a government that knows it can’t stop usually forthright citizens who have turned to thievery, in the millions.
The Swedish government recently raided Pirate Bay, one of the largest illegal “torrent” (piracy) sites. Like Whack-a-Mole, Pirate Bay just popped up again somewhere else.
The Wall Street Journal reported that 2.2 million users of torrent sites downloaded an illegal copy of last year’s movie, Expendables 3.
How does the state prosecute 2.2 million people over just one movie, let alone many millions world-wide who swipe files?
Even Stephen Harper couldn’t order that kind of law enforcement.
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A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides subscribers with their choice of IP addresses from cities around the world. People click on one of the VPN sites to disguise themselves while downloading pirated movies.
But it’s much more main stream than that. Canadians choose IP addresses in the U.S. so they can get the U.S. Netflix menu of shows in Canada.
A seriously shocking one-third of Canadian Netflix customers now fudge a U.S. IP address so they can access a menu that offers four times as many titles as the Canadian menu.
What’s Netflix going to do? Tell one third of its Canadian customers it doesn’t want their business anymore? When capitalists fly.
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The cities of Montreal and Toronto are upset with Uber, a mobile phone application for ordering up independent drivers for rides that are cheaper and probably more efficient than waiting for a licenced cab.
Montreal is building a case against Uber for alleged infractions of the province’s tax code. In Toronto, the city is taking the company to court to request an injunction against its services.
The company, however, continues to expand.
Montrealers keep using Uber, just like passengers in 57 countries. The company has just offered UberEats, a restaurant food delivery service in Toronto.
In New York, 15,000 private vehicles use Uber’s platform for hire, which is now 2,000 more than all of the city’s famous yellow cabs.
How could New York stop 15,000 drivers serving several hundreds of thousands daily, no matter what the bylaws says? If you think they can, I have the Brooklyn Bridge to sell you.
Someone quipped that the real Pirates of the Caribbean are several hundred online bookmakers who operate there. A 2001 B.C. Court ruling took a feeble swipe at one of them. That was the last court case and it was pre-Internet.
Fourteen years later, with just an IP address required, offshore sites attract $4-5-billion a year from Canadian bettors – much more than the $500-million that Canadians gamble through the legal sports lotteries run by the provinces.
This is understandable. The offshore pay-back to the bettor is about 91 per cent of all the money taken in. The government sports lotteries pay the winning bettors only 50 per cent of the total pot. Provincial lotteries of all types are a sucker’s bet. The only people who should be charged are our politicians for racketeering.
Some 220 companies take bets on National Hockey League games. About 120 handle bets on the Canadian Football League games. Even the Canadian Soccer League is covered by at least 130 global bookmakers.
And, of course, many more for Major League Baseball, soccer and the NFL.
There’s no kind of law enforcement, especially across international boundaries, that will stop it.
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A record number of people world-wide paid to see the recent Floyd Mayweather - Manny Pacquiao fight. The pay-per-view cost in Canada from Shaw was $100.
However, dozens of illegal live-streaming sites carried the bout for free. So many people watched without paying that the sites became over-loaded and the audio/visual quality melted down.
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There are almost 90 marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver. Even though they are apparently against federal law, the City of Vancouver has turned a blind eye.
The Vancouver Sun newspaper reports that sixty per cent of Vancouver’s marijuana businesses violate city hall’s proposed rules that they not be located within 300 metres of each other. More than a third are too close to a school or community centre.
Maps of locations for all of them are all over the web.
The feds are upset but the growing number of dispensaries may have exceeded a critical mass where they can’t all be busted, just like speakeasies came to flourish during prohibition in the U.S.
And the solution for this lawlessness is?
Sorry, no idea.
— Poulsen can be reached at email@example.com