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Beware Rihanna fans - Skynet is operational!

jamesrobins January 31, 2013, 12:24 pm
Rihanna performs during the Rock in Rio Music Festival in Arganda del Rey on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain, Saturday, June 5, 2010.

AP Images © Enlarge photo

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so sorry for a Rihanna fan before.

I certainly feel sympathy for anyone drawn in to her Carribean charms – despite the awful tunes – but yesterday’s first fine under the Skynet laws will hopefully cast a skeptical eye over prosecuting music fans.

One poor lass had the princely sum of $616.57 removed from her for downloading one Rihanna song, and another from some kind of ‘musical’ group called Hot Chelle Rae.

This is all thanks to the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011which established a Tribunal to try internet users who ignore a three-strike warning system for using peer-to-peer file sharing services.

(In English: people downloading songs and films without paying for them, using a particular piece of software to do it.)

The spoils of battle were then divvied as follows: “a deterrent of $360, reimbursement of the application fee to the tribunal of $200, $50 towards the fees paid by Rianz to Telecom, and the $6.57 it would have cost to buy the songs legally.”

But there are some inherent problems within this case, and it does not bode well for the future.

In her submissions to the Tribunal, the woman accused of downloading these two songs details how her computer automatically installed uTorrent (a P2P program). Because of how these programs work, the Rihanna song was downloaded once, before ‘seeding’, or being uploaded back for other peers to use.

If we’re to believe this person, she downloaded uTorrent by mistake, and not knowing how the program worked, allowed that one song to download, then upload again, resulting in two of her three strikes.

It’s worth pointing out that neither artist whose music was downloaded was from New Zealand, instead the deterrent fee is headed for the coffers of Def Jam Records and RCA Records.

Even more frightening though, is that RIANZ sought to squeeze as much cash as humanly possible from this woman, insisting that because she allowed the song to be uploaded, any number of other P2P users could have nabbed it too (though thankfully the Tribunal saw through this).

All of this over a Rihanna track? It’s obscene!

Similar laws around the world have been created with the simple aim or recouping costs, but it’s a high form of hypocrisy to establish internet piracy laws as protecting entertainment industry income whilst proclaiming that this saved income is going to the lowly artist.

I would understand if the fines handed down by this process went straight to the artist in question, but this law is pathetic and punitive – punishing people for crime for which there is no victim, save for the lighter pockets of a few record execs.

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  1. Jayson01:52pm Tuesday 05th February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    If You like POP STAR WHORES then you deserve to be BENT OVER. Mediocre is WHAT COMMERCIAL MUSIC is and will always BE. She should ask that HYPOCRITE Bono if he will help her pay the BILL.

  2. Gravitas05:52pm Monday 04th February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Such a shame her boyfriend didn't do the job right! And shut her the hal up for good.Better rid.

  3. 10:38am Monday 04th February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    skynet is self aware! help us John Connor!

  4. Jared09:35am Monday 04th February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    I wouldnt accept any of her songs even if she gave it free.Bloody Screamer

  5. Anthony07:45am Monday 04th February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Cracking down on all those bad people downloading their favorites songs! Legislation passed to do so, costing the music industry millions!! Sure... But yet I still have to be afraid of any unknown email I open and be weary of new sites as well as pay yearly for virus protection and have never heard of a hacker that didn't go against the government get busted. You can track someone who steals 2.00 or 200.00 worth of music but you can't catch the dickheads that put a worm in program that blue screens hundreds or thousands of computers costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. OR is it the companies that pushed this legislation profit not really the artist and there's NO money to be made off stopping REAL hacker crimes.

  6. Ian07:29pm Sunday 03rd February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Before entering intomaligning anyone this pseudo-journo should learn to spell CariBBean. Just another loser with a left-wing attitude.

  7. Te Donna05:13pm Sunday 03rd February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    If certain internet providers police the "minnow" offenders , they will end up cutting their own throats eventually as people will either switch off using the internet or change their internet provider.

  8. 04:40pm Sunday 03rd February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    One could argue the problem is that this government HAS been faithful to its own - big business.

  9. S M04:29pm Sunday 03rd February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    yes there is that - (folk not paying in the first place ). however ,if I do purchase something then gift it to you, at no profit to me .that should not be considered an illegal act .which is how the "skynet" law is trying to make things . and we know the recording companies with all their millions wish to sell us something ,then control what we do with it . that is fundamentally wrong and based solely on greed. and no such law should ever have come into effect. Especially not a law that allows a person of a so called sovereign state, to be fined on the whim of a company outside that state .Our government has been unfaithful to its own in making such a law .

  10. Oglet08:59pm Saturday 02nd February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    But S M, the problem is that people are not paying for it first. They are paying nothing. They are stealing it. The muso's as well as the music companies get nothing. Like the NZ movies - Boy andSione's wedding - lost 50% of poetential taking because of illegal copying and downloads: how does that help the viability of those producers and directors? Same with music. Theft is theft even if Robin Hooding is excusable in iniquitous situations.


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