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December 23, 2006 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Why is this thread still around? I know at least one admin has seen it, since my snarky response was removed. Is it now OK to ask for piracy how-to's?
posted by mkultra to Etiquette/Policy at 10:02 AM (123 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Nothing the poster has requested information on is intrinsically illegal. The issue of legality that is obviously implied by the question has been addressed in the thread. The poster is asking for advice on how to assist a novice user in negotiating torrent files. It's a perfectly legitimate question.
posted by nanojath at 10:09 AM on December 23, 2006


But piracy funds terrorisms!
posted by klangklangston at 10:20 AM on December 23, 2006


So what, mkultra, are you representing the RIAA now? All file sharing applications are by their very nature piracy?
posted by tkolar at 10:21 AM on December 23, 2006


Responses within the askme thread more than adequately cover this territory.

Have we met at a meetup, mkultra? Because if so, that means that I actually know someone who cares about music piracy. That's interesting to me.
posted by bingo at 10:28 AM on December 23, 2006


I do wish that the admins would clarify Metafilter's policies on this. I have avoided posting my questions about the use of photocopiers and VCRs, since they are often used to duplicate copyrighted materials, and I thought such discussions were forbidden around here.
posted by jayder at 10:34 AM on December 23, 2006 [3 favorites]


What a dry wit you have.
posted by smackfu at 10:36 AM on December 23, 2006


You've met me, bingo.
posted by dame at 10:40 AM on December 23, 2006


From the post:

Is there some BT client for Windows that has torrent search capabilities that don't redirect to a website (I'm a Linux girl, I wouldn't know)? Should I roll together a web app that that'll turn her lyrics into a a decent query string, find a song/album based on them and then automatically search for torrents for her? Or do I tell her to stick to the iTunes store?

Please, I await your interpretations of this statement that don't end with the understanding that she's asking how to make it easy for her mother to pirate music.

It would be nice if all you knee-jerk responders actually took the time to read the original post. It's NOT some vague "how do I use BitTorrent" question. The fact that I'm calling this out doesn't make me a techno-prude; posts like that open up some serious liability questions.
posted by mkultra at 10:45 AM on December 23, 2006


posts like that open up some serious liability questions.

Yeah, for someone else. Why do you care?
posted by smackfu at 10:48 AM on December 23, 2006


I'd say based on "Or do I tell her to stick to the iTunes store?" you could have gone in and said "Tell her to stick to the iTunes store."
posted by Partial Law at 10:48 AM on December 23, 2006


This is exactly why nobody who actually has a voice in these piracy discussions ever takes you children seriously. The poster asks:
I've been saddled with the task of teaching my mom how to download music from the Internet.
And you reply, with a straight face, "That's not necessarily illegal. She might be talking about legal BitTorrent downloads."

And then you add, "Besides, it might be illegal and I might be violating somebody's copyright...but I don't care." Right. Because, when you break the law, "I'm antisocial" is a valid defense.
posted by cribcage at 10:48 AM on December 23, 2006


I never get tired of these copyright discussions. Some day someone will convince someone they are actually wrong in pirating music. I look forward to that day.
posted by smackfu at 10:56 AM on December 23, 2006


As long as dumb college kids keep getting smacked with $12,000 "settlements," I don't care whether they believe they're wrong. To tell the truth, it's more amusing to me if they spend the next couple of years stewing about the "injustice" they suffered.
posted by cribcage at 11:00 AM on December 23, 2006


smackfu, you're entitled to all of your high-minded selfish morality, but the law disagrees with you.
posted by mkultra at 11:05 AM on December 23, 2006


Because, when you break the law, "I'm antisocial" is a valid defense.

Nobody is suggesting that's the case. People often break laws, not because they think they have a defense that will stand up in court, but because they don't agree with the law, and they aren't worried about getting caught. The fact that legislators deemed something unacceptable doesn't automatically mean that from then on, everyone who does it anyway is anti-social. On the contrary, sharing music can be a social activity, and it can facilitate other social activities. So can smoking marijuana, and so can doing a lot of other things that the law says you aren't supposed to do. Some people measure acceptability with other yardsticks.

on preview:

Some day someone will convince someone they are actually wrong in pirating music.

Speaking as one of those who has yet to be convinced, the argument is going to have to be a lot more convincing than 'because it's illegal' or the equally yawn-inducing 'because it's wrong.'
posted by bingo at 11:06 AM on December 23, 2006


smackfu writes "posts like that open up some serious liability questions.

"Yeah, for someone else. Why do you care?"


Because that 'someone else' is #1, as the owner of the site.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:09 AM on December 23, 2006


People often break laws, not because they think they have a defense that will stand up in court, but because they don't agree with the law, and they aren't worried about getting caught.

OK, first of all, those people are still found Guilty in court.

Second, this isn't an issue of someone's personal preference. If you want to pirate music, have at it, I really don't care. Just don't come here asking for help. It's like going over to a friend-of-a-friend's house, firing up a joint, then acting all blasé when the cops come knocking.
posted by mkultra at 11:11 AM on December 23, 2006


So, you know when you go to a museum and there is a person creating a copy of a painting. Usually the copy is near perfect. Isn't that like the art school/ rich person equivalent of file sharing? And what are the rules for that if anyone knows. (this might make a good ask.me)
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 11:13 AM on December 23, 2006


In most cases, such as this one, it is not illegal to discuss how to break the law. I see no liability issue here, and it's also a good opportunity to advise this fellow that he's putting his mother in a possibly embarrassing situation. Any action by the government against Metafilter would be a violation of the First Amendment. It should stand.
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:14 AM on December 23, 2006


One fact most seem to have ignored is that the poster is in Canada, which, it should be noted, is not governed by US law. Filesharing is legal here.

More info
posted by loiseau at 11:17 AM on December 23, 2006 [3 favorites]


I download stuff off bitorrent all the time.

And guess what? it's stealing. I admit it. It's obviously stealing. If I could buy DRM-free mp3s of the music I wanted, I probably would, but as far as I know I cant.

But it's stealing. Just admit it. All these tortured arguments are SOOO lame and always have been.

The artists are rich: so its ok to break into rich people's houses and steal?

The labels/RIAA are scummy: so its ok the knock down someone on the street and steal their wallet if you judge them morally inferior to yourself?

Its like making a copy of a painting at a museum: a) no its not, paintings are valued based on their uniqueness, music recordings are not and b) the obvious comparison to that would be re-recording the song yourself for your personal entertainment- no one claims that is illegal I dont think.

copyright laws are lame/evil/restrict freedom: No. They help artists be compensated for their work. This reminds me of "libertarians" and all their convoluted crap about "there were no income taxes until 1837 you know!" and "we dont actually have to pay taxes because Thomas Jefferson blah blah constitution blah blah just plain wrong gibberish blah."

It's a nice fantasy that stealing or not paying your taxes is not only legal, but that you're a great American Hero and Patriot for doing it. Reality differs. You have to pay your taxes and stealing music is illegal. The government happens to be far more effective at enforcing one law than the other, but both are equally illegal and for equally good reasons.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:35 AM on December 23, 2006 [2 favorites]


and for the record i've had it up to my chin hairs with people on askme, wanting advice on how best to j walk. don't come over to my house with your hoola hoops and your roller skates and expect me to cover for you when jonnhy long torso comes a calling.
you'll end up in the pokie for sure.
posted by nola at 11:41 AM on December 23, 2006


You have to pay your taxes and stealing music is illegal.

Good example. Most state tax returns require you to declare your internet purchases and pay sales tax on them. Yet they don't have any way to enforce it. How many people actually put the real number here?

If there's no chance of being caught, most people will steal.
posted by smackfu at 11:41 AM on December 23, 2006


I didn't see the question until now, but I'm more on mkultra's side here. With my parents/family, I just tell them to use the iTunes store and if there's some obscure johnny mathis thing they absolutely must have, I might look for them, but I would never bother with teaching them how to hunt for l33t w4rez.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:54 AM on December 23, 2006


BrodieShadeTree: Most famous paintings are free of copyright. I've been in museums before where I've been allowed to take non-flash photos of anything pre-20th century as it's not under copyright law. Totally depends on the museum, what their policies are on photo-taking, but most are pro-art student.

And art students selling replicas of famous works is totally legit. You could almost never get one to pass as real at an auction though, each artist makes distinctive marks so it's not impossible for a curator to spot a fraud.

(Though art copying and fraud-spotting has made for some pretty good episodes of Law & Order.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:56 AM on December 23, 2006


And now give unto us our daily snark. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Look, fuck the RIAA, fuck the apologists, the copy-do-righters and fuck the pirates. It's all moot.

The first really amusing thing here is this

A) That this poor bastard is trying to shoe-horn his technophobic mom - who struggles with Google - into being a lean, mean, torrent-slurping machine.

By all accounts and descriptions this sounds like it is about as likely to occur as it is for winged, singing Tom Cruises to fly out of my ass.

Secondly, B) You're all here arguing about this moot point. On a Saturday. I just wanted to point that out, 'cause I think it's awesome and I love you guys.
posted by loquacious at 11:57 AM on December 23, 2006


Um, is this a thread about the ethical issues around filesharing or about whether or not the post in question asks for help in doing something illegal? 'Cause I see people referring to being an American hero and paying US taxes and I know we all know that Canadians do neither of those things.
posted by loiseau at 11:58 AM on December 23, 2006


And lastly: Its like making a copy of a painting at a museum: a) no its not, paintings are valued based on their uniqueness, music recordings are not

In this quote lies the real problem with the record industry, as well as music fandom - the philosophy of commodification.

What if we treated recordings like paintings?
posted by loquacious at 11:59 AM on December 23, 2006


OK, first of all, those people are still found Guilty in court.

Those who are caught are sometimes charged, and those charged sometimes don't get the charge dropped, and those who don't are sometimes found guilty, and those found guilty sometimes suffer a penalty that will actualy make them sorry they committed the crime to begin with. Sometimes the courts see things the defendant's way, and make rulings that challenge, or effectively change, the law. It all depends.

It's like going over to a friend-of-a-friend's house, firing up a joint, then acting all blasé when the cops come knocking.

It's really not like that at all. This is more like going to a forum that you have probably paid to be a member of, and starting a discussion on which water pipe is easiest to use, and another attendee freaking out because he thinks the cops are about to bust down the door.

on preview, for drjimmy11:

The artists are rich: so its ok to break into rich people's houses and steal?

That's just a bad analogy. To steal something, you have to take it away from someone else. Otherwise, you haven't done them any harm. And nobody's house is getting broken into, nor is there any analogous violation of safety or privacy going on.

...the obvious comparison to that would be re-recording the song yourself for your personal entertainment- no one claims that is illegal I dont think.

To me, that's the moral equivalent of downloading the song from a p2p network; it's just more work, with poorer quality. In either case, you're only (possibly) harming the artist if you re-sell the music, and that's not what we're talking about.

Courtney Love once spoke eloquently about her non-issue with the old Napster, and the greater context of the recording and distribution model.
posted by bingo at 12:01 PM on December 23, 2006


Canada
posted by blue_beetle at 12:13 PM on December 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


O, Canada?
posted by Abiezer at 12:17 PM on December 23, 2006


You know, just when I thought the whole napster/riaa/copyright argument couldn't get any sillier, someone goes and uses Courtney Love as a reference.

Coming up next, we'll have Paris Hilton and Nichole Richie debate the moral ramifications of chatroom defamation laws.
posted by tkolar at 12:38 PM on December 23, 2006


And you reply, with a straight face, "That's not necessarily illegal. She might be talking about legal BitTorrent downloads."

Fill yer boots.*

* And then STFU, alright?
posted by docgonzo at 12:42 PM on December 23, 2006


One fact most seem to have ignored is that the poster is in Canada, which, it should be noted, is not governed by US law. Filesharing is legal here.
posted by signal at 12:46 PM on December 23, 2006


Thank you. I was beginning to think I am invisible.
posted by loiseau at 12:52 PM on December 23, 2006


tkolar: I don't know what the connection is between Hilton/Richie and chatroom defamation laws, but if it's as crystal clear as the connection between a professional recording artist and the debate over whether the music of same should be shared, then by all means, quote away.
posted by bingo at 12:55 PM on December 23, 2006


BrodieShadeTree writes "So, you know when you go to a museum and there is a person creating a copy of a painting. Usually the copy is near perfect. Isn't that like the art school/ rich person equivalent of file sharing? And what are the rules for that if anyone knows. (this might make a good ask.me)"

Er, no. You're not making an exact copy, for one. For another, more important reason, art students do that in order to refine their technical skills.

bingo writes "Courtney Love once spoke eloquently"

Now that is shocking.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:09 PM on December 23, 2006


WTF, it took this long for someone to check my profile?

Jurisdiction or not, my post wasn't about enabling anyone to do anything necessarily illegal.
posted by thisjax at 1:12 PM on December 23, 2006


I was really waiting for mathowie to chime in on this one since I was on the fence. We haven't been having our usual day-to-day BS sessions because of the holidays. I'm okay with "how does bittorent work?" questions but this one seemed over the line to me too. I removed it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:18 PM on December 23, 2006


Whatever. Those suggestive italics just prove you are a lying theiving Canuck and the sooner we kidnap you and send you to Texas the safer the entire North American continent will be.
posted by dame at 1:20 PM on December 23, 2006


Can we also ban mix tape questions? Because making a mix tape is usually illegal as well.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 1:29 PM on December 23, 2006


Also - even if sharing music is legal in Canada, that just gets the asker off the hook for asking an illegal question. It doesn't help Metafilter get away with hosting illegal answers.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 1:36 PM on December 23, 2006


I was really waiting for mathowie to chime in on this one since I was on the fence. We haven't been having our usual day-to-day BS sessions because of the holidays. I'm okay with "how does bittorent work?" questions but this one seemed over the line to me too. I removed it.

American law rules once again, even for non-americans.

Le sigh.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 1:37 PM on December 23, 2006


Answering a question is not illegal!!! Maybe acting on that answer is, but you do have the right to discuss these things. Admins can take it down if they want, their choice. But nothing illegal is going on in that thread. Illegal answer, my ass.
posted by Roger Dodger at 1:40 PM on December 23, 2006


Also - even if sharing music is legal in Canada, that just gets the asker off the hook for asking an illegal question. It doesn't help Metafilter get away with hosting illegal answers.

There's nothing illegal in the question itself. The conclusions for what it will be used for are drawn by you the end user, not the poser.

Maybe she has old records she wants updated digital copies to. There are possibilities outside of the realm of illegality that provide enough ambiguity to not hold anyone here responsible for the end result; the users's actual intent.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 1:40 PM on December 23, 2006


Well, regarding paintings. I wasn't asking for exact comparisons. I know many of these student copies are comissioned, and apart for the reasons a student might have for making the painting, there are some similarities. Mainly, you are buying a copy, not the original to enjoy it in the same context. There is nothing of the original missing. The artist, though probably dead, gets no revenue from your copy. And an MP3, though a copy, is also not an exact replica. Just seems to me that maybe the "protection" of artistic works is not dealt with, albeit for esoteric reasons, but this commercial music is very much being "protected".
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 1:40 PM on December 23, 2006


American law rules once again, even for non-americans.

The server lives in America, as do mathowie and I. Neither of us said "illegal" it's just outside our comfort zone for what we want on the site.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:43 PM on December 23, 2006


The server lives in America, as do mathowie and I. Neither of us said "illegal" it's just outside our comfort zone for what we want on the site.

What about a post like this (enabling a person to use bittorrent without being traced) or this (enabling people to find copyrighted films) or this (how do I best avoid getting caught using bittorrent)? There's a moral line on this particular question I just don't see.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 1:48 PM on December 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


ILLEGAL MY ASS ANSWER

ABORT, RETRY, FAIL, IGNORE? _
posted by loquacious at 2:28 PM on December 23, 2006


Let me get this straight:

It's OK to have a vast array of YouTube links on the front page, a significant number of which link directly to infringing material (such as pretty much all of y2karl's wonderful list posts).

But it isn't OK to have a discussion on how to teach someone to use a piece of software that may not actually be used illegally? Discussing how to break the law doesn't open the site owners to liability, and I seem to recall a very popular question and comment about how to get rid of a body.

I'm not criticising the decision -- I just want to be very sure about where the lines are being drawn. Would it, for example, be OK for me to link to a YouTube video showing someone getting rid of the evidence of a murder?
posted by solid-one-love at 2:49 PM on December 23, 2006


I just want to be very sure about where the lines are being drawn.

I don't think you're going to get that satisfaction. The lines tend to get drawn wheresoever they get drawn on a case-by-case basis. If they feel like they should nuke it, they nuke it. Seems simple enough.
posted by cortex at 2:54 PM on December 23, 2006


I'm pretty sure it's still legal to talk about what people do in other countries, even in the US.
posted by loiseau at 2:56 PM on December 23, 2006


I just want to be very sure about where the lines are being drawn.

There was a discussion about YouTube in MetaTalk, what, yesterday? AskMe and MeFi have different guidelines in any case. In AskMe, the nuances of how someone asks the question, how much attention the question gets and what specifically is being talked about all matter. In MeFi it mostly has to do with not linking to stuff that would for some reason rain down hate on the site, vanish immediately, or break the law even by being linked to.

If you're looking for crystal clear "this is the way the guidelines will be enforced every time without exceptions" rules, you're not going to find them here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:04 PM on December 23, 2006


I just want to be very sure about where the lines are being drawn.

Apparently, the line is just below the word "Winnipeg" in this picture.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:24 PM on December 23, 2006


Courtney Love once spoke eloquently about her non-issue with the old Napster, and the greater context of the recording and distribution model.

and then she passed out with her face in the mashed potatos.
posted by quonsar at 3:26 PM on December 23, 2006 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised no one bothered to mention that many mp3 files on limewire redirect you to a website that tries to make you download something called play.exe . I haven't bothered to download it to see what it is, but I doubt it would be healthy for granny's computer. These files appear to be the correct size, but have a play time of like 13 seconds, so if you're not showing the correct column in limewire, you may end up with this. Pirating is not for the average user anymore.
posted by IronLizard at 3:36 PM on December 23, 2006


I think I should wait a while before I ask my question about techniques used to steal cars. I don't want to be accused of playing stupid metagames.

(Dead serious -- I'm writing a caper novel, I have never held a license to drive a car, and my being being the wheel of a car would be near-suicidal, so the information would not enable me to break the law.)

I'm just not sure if it should matter whether the question is hypothetical or whether it isn't, whether the activity is legal in most Western jurisdictions or not. If it describes an activity which is illegal somewhere, then there's a good chance that someone will inevitably use that information to break the law.

And if the issue is one of immediacy ("I want to learn how to make bathtub crank and sell it to schoolchildren. How can I best do this?") would a dishonest poster merely need to lie about their motives in order to make the question kosher ("I am writing a novel where the main character, an anti-hero, brews bathtub crank and sells it to schoolchildren. What are some good recipes and marketing schemes?")

I have been unable to predict how any given question would make it past the filter, so a crystal-clear answer would have been useful. But my conclusion is that the moderation is based largely on intuition. This is fine, natch -- it ain't my site. Just makes it that much harder to use, though. Like visiting a foreign country and getting the stink-eye because you've wiped your brow with your left hand.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:57 PM on December 23, 2006


and then she passed out with her face in the mashed potatos.

That wasn't mashed potatoes. That was a pile of coke.
posted by loquacious at 3:59 PM on December 23, 2006


does this mean it's NOT ok to copy and paste the treaty of westphalia?
posted by pyramid termite at 4:01 PM on December 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


This is seriolusly one of the most retarded call-outs ever. How is someone so offended by copyright infringement that it offends their sensibilities to read a discussion with instructions that could be used for infringement but just as easily for legal activity?

This is the new Victorian prudishness. Corporations are inside your head and the only solution is to stop your head from working. If they got in once, you're too feebleminded to prevent it from happening again if you happen to get righted. Do humanity a favor and kill yourself before you pass it on to your kids. We don't need to hear baseless assumptions and overreaction for two generations. Do you have a gas oven? Just do it now. Don't think too hard about it or you might chicken out and force us to hear more of your dumb conclusions.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:06 PM on December 23, 2006 [9 favorites]


This is the new Victorian prudishness.

or puritanism

Corporations are inside your head and the only solution is to stop your head from working.

help! i've got spinal exxonitus!!
posted by pyramid termite at 4:30 PM on December 23, 2006


I like piracy.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 5:34 PM on December 23, 2006


This was not a good deletion, for the many reasons outlined in this thread. Most especially since there is no legal liability for Matt or Jess and the poster posted from a place where everything mentioned in the question is legal.

However, the one reason why it should stand: this is not your website.
posted by Kickstart70 at 5:38 PM on December 23, 2006


However, the one reason why it should stand: this is not your website.

Exactly. I never question deletions. But the call out is stupid.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:05 PM on December 23, 2006


mkultra: The fact that I'm calling this out doesn't make me a techno-prude

No, just a jerk.

Probably the worst deletion ever; way to go guys.
posted by spaltavian at 6:21 PM on December 23, 2006


No one is found "guilty" of downloading music, by the way, because it's a civil issue, not a criminal one.

The question poses no liability issues whatsoever, because it's not illegal to host a question that other people think may be use to commit a tort.
posted by spaltavian at 6:26 PM on December 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


So, OK, what's next? Someone asks for information about committing some consensual sexual activity that happens to be illegal somewhere in the U.S., and that thread gets deleted too? This is weak.
posted by evinrude at 7:42 PM on December 23, 2006


So, OK, what's next? Someone asks for information about committing some consensual sexual activity...

Dear Askme:

After numorous exhortions to do so, I'm finally going to go fuck myself. Any pointers?
posted by cortex at 7:51 PM on December 23, 2006


Lube.
posted by cgc373 at 8:06 PM on December 23, 2006


" Someone asks for information about committing some consensual sexual activity that happens to be illegal somewhere in the U.S., and that thread gets deleted too?"

Dear AskMe: I want to buy my Texan girlfriend a vibrator ...
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:25 PM on December 23, 2006


I think it was a poor deletion, but also recognize there is nothing I can do about it, other than register my regrets it was withdrawn.
posted by edgeways at 8:42 PM on December 23, 2006


Is it now OK to ask for piracy how-to's?
Is it now OK to be a vainglorious self-important spunk-bucket?
posted by bonaldi at 8:44 PM on December 23, 2006


Also, cortex, re: fucking yourself. Please, always remember to BYOSB.
posted by cgc373 at 9:02 PM on December 23, 2006


does this mean it's NOT ok to copy and paste the treaty of westphalia?

Based on previous case law, it would seem that posting the treaty in its entirety is frowned upon, especially if said document is followed immediately by posts of other lengthy treaties.

However, short excerpts of the Treaty, accompanied by explanations, elaborations, commentary, etc., have been allowed to stand.

In order to further strengthen this precedent, and more importantly for your reading pleasure, I would be most pleased to present to you this short excerpt, article XXXI:

That the Agreement made, touching the Entertainment of the Lord Christian William, Marquiss of Brandenburg, shall be kept as if recited in this place, as it is put down in the fourteenth Article of the Treaty between the Empire and Swedeland.

There are a few things that strike me about this section of the Treaty. Like, what's Swedeland? Did they not call it sweden back then? And I guess more generally, what the fuck is this section about? Who is Lord Christian William, and why is his "entertainment" deemed worthy for inclusion in an international peace treaty? Like, could you see them talking about unlimited hookers and blow for Meatbomb in some document coming out of the UN? Too weird, man.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:28 PM on December 23, 2006


there is no legal liability for Matt or Jess and the poster posted from a place where everything mentioned in the question is legal

The problem being that this is an international forum and the advice given can easily be used in countries where it is not legal (especially if it is something as web-based as bittorrent). I could ask about what the best way to pick up 14 year old girls for sex would be. If my profile mentions, say, Japan, this would not be an illegal question. Any answers I get might be used by other people reading the website in countries where this activity would be highly illegal. Sure, Jess and Matt would not be legally responsible, but surely they would want to disassociate themselves the kind of service that answers questions like these. So in effect it would a moral choice from the admins, which is what happened here. Not everybody shares the same social values and moral codes.

Now bring on the omg pedophilia != piracy snark, but this is just an (extreme) example. The argument still stands. Just because something isn't illegal in the country the asker claims to be from doesn't mean it should be tolerated by the admins no matter how they won't be sued for allowing it. Call it taking a moral stance if you want. I'm not expecting Matt and Jess to run through all the laws in all the countries to weed out the 'globally illegal' questions, but I do support the case-by-case basis of deciding whether a question stays or not. I don't want there to be hard and fast rules that would cause even more conflict.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:24 AM on December 24, 2006


Say I'm an American or Canadian and I am between 18 and 21 years old; Can anyone help explain to me if its OK to buy a drink in a Pub in Britain at the bar, or score some hash in Amsterdam. If the answer is its OK, How do I proceed?
posted by adamvasco at 3:47 AM on December 24, 2006


1) Walk due East.

2) When you reach water, swim.


posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:00 AM on December 24, 2006


1) Realise that asking a specific question about a location that can not be translated to another country does not equal asking a general question. Where can I score weed in Amsterdam vs. How can I score weed?

2) Just Fucking Google It

3) If this does not compute, walk due East.

4) When you reach water, fall into the watery grave of your own ignorance.

I snark because I love.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:32 AM on December 24, 2006


Say I'm an American or Canadian and I am between 18 and 21 years old

1) send an embassy to the Lord Christian William, Marquiss of Brandenburg ... he has Entertainment

2) if you can't find him, find an older sibling ... that works for most americans and canadians between 18 and 21
posted by pyramid termite at 5:33 AM on December 24, 2006


< snark mode>
I cannot believe you would suggest "most americans and canadians" have an older sibling, pyramid termite. That's blatant siblingism and I won't stand for it!
< /snark mode off>

Now that snark mode is off, I am wondering how you could determine whether, in fact, most Americans or Canadians or whatever-ians do have an older sibling. What's the process you use to solve such a problem? Should I take this to AskMe?
posted by cgc373 at 6:25 AM on December 24, 2006


Also, my snark mode indicators suck.
posted by cgc373 at 6:26 AM on December 24, 2006


The self-justifying rationalizations of the piracy crowd always amaze me. I think I'll set up a new website called Metaphilter.com that will look just like this one and steal all your comments for content.
posted by spitbull at 6:53 AM on December 24, 2006


Knock yourself out, spitbull. You'll just be exposing my brilliance to a larger audience.
posted by mojohand at 7:26 AM on December 24, 2006


I am wondering how you could determine whether, in fact, most Americans or Canadians or whatever-ians do have an older sibling.

well, if they don't, i'm sure they have a friend that does

I think I'll set up a new website called Metaphilter.com that will look just like this one and steal all your comments for content.

it's not about the comments, it's about the links
posted by pyramid termite at 7:43 AM on December 24, 2006


I think I'll set up a new website called Metaphilter.com that will look just like this one and steal all your comments for content.
Onoeeees! And when you steal all our comments, that means there won't be any comments left here? AMIRITE?????
posted by signal at 7:52 AM on December 24, 2006


The self-justifying rationalizations of the piracy crowd always amaze me.
The ability of people to argue for their chains always amazes me.
posted by bonaldi at 8:13 AM on December 24, 2006


well, if they don't, i'm sure they have a friend that does

The problem of figuring out whether most people do, in fact, have an older sibling is just removed another level by including people who have friends who have older siblings. Let's stick to the original problem.
posted by cgc373 at 8:15 AM on December 24, 2006


My Dear AskMe,

Merry Christmas to you and your dear family. I hope that you are all well and that this Holiday Season finds you in good spirits. I am sorry to say that the year 2006 was a disagreeable one for the Gravy family.

Do you remember when I asked about your advice on what to do in case of possible fly ingestion? And you responded it would be best to expectorate at once? I'm afraid that my darling husband, Gaylord, was summarily taken to the hoosegow by the local constable for "Public Spitting." And when Gaylord demanded to know what the punishment would be for "Public Flatulence" the officer in charge punched him in the snoot.

Granny Burla Gravy will be celebrating the New Years in the Woman's Lock-up for Hunting on a Sunday. I'm afraid, dearest AskMe, that your advice on dealing with invasive squirrels by using a slingshot was taken amiss by her neighbor who, amusingly, is a volunteer for the Sheriff's department on the weekends.

Do you remember my younger brother Elroid (Beefy)? He was forced to flee the county after the revenue men found his still. Your recipe for Prune-O was tasty but illegal.

On a happier note, I am pleased to announce that my older brother, Flonnie (Lumpy) Gravy and his wife, Permilla, have just ushered their 14th child into this world. Tragically the infant, Nichabod, was born behind bars. Your advice on walking to combat unwanted flabbiness resulted in the entire family being arrested for Parading Without a License. My favorite niece, Jazzabelle who just turned four, will have to serve a further sentence for Public Urination.

Finally, I must report that my Sister-in-law, Severa and her husband Malpheus (Mal) are each serving 10 to 20 in The Big House. Your idea on how to raise money for the Wiggens County Volunteer Fire Department was a big winner and they had hoped that the Naked Volunteer Firemen Calendar would become an annual event. But alas. It turns out some of the Volunteer Firemen are really Fireboys, being under 18.

I trust and hope that your year was more auspicious.

Ever Faithfully Yours,
Secret L. Gravy.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:57 AM on December 24, 2006 [3 favorites]


Dear Askme,
I have a friend who fights for his slavery as if it were freedom. How can I help him see his error?

Best,
Baruch Spinoza
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:08 AM on December 24, 2006


You know who else made illegal downloads?


Mark Foley.
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 9:35 AM on December 24, 2006


dear secret l gravy

yhbt ... hth ... hand ... LOL!!

regards, ask me



dear baruch spinoza

marketing

regards, ask me
posted by pyramid termite at 9:42 AM on December 24, 2006


it's not about the comments, it's about the links

Personally, I come for the comments. The links usually suck.
posted by bingo at 10:11 AM on December 24, 2006


bingo: bingo.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 11:38 AM on December 24, 2006


spitbull writes "I think I'll set up a new website called Metaphilter.com that will look just like this one and steal all your comments for content."

If you can do it with a faster server and better uptime, please, go for it!
posted by mr_roboto at 12:08 PM on December 24, 2006


Can anybody tell me where to find this cool song by Leet Juarez?
posted by JanetLand at 2:30 PM on December 24, 2006


Fuck off, Mayor Curley. Seriously. That shit's uncalled for.
posted by mkultra at 6:03 PM on December 24, 2006


No, it was perfectly called for. You started it with your idiot callout.
posted by blasdelf at 6:28 PM on December 24, 2006


Seemed pretty on the money to me, mr capitalist lackey.
posted by bonaldi at 6:30 PM on December 24, 2006


Nice to know the level of conversation here on MeFi has reverted to Romper Room.
posted by mkultra at 9:30 PM on December 24, 2006


Reverted?
posted by cortex at 10:43 PM on December 24, 2006


The Revertolution starts now!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:55 PM on December 24, 2006


Wii!
posted by cortex at 7:13 AM on December 25, 2006


... since my snarky response was removed.

Nice to know the level of conversation here on MeFi has reverted to Romper Room.

Hmm.
posted by bonaldi at 8:52 AM on December 25, 2006


Spare me. My response may have been snarky, but I didn't resort to making obnoxious personal attacks.
posted by mkultra at 10:56 AM on December 25, 2006


Christ, you really are a whiny clipe. Are you the one the kids hissed "sneak" to all the time? "Oooh! ooh! Miss! Miss! They're swapping tapes in the class! If the RIAA finds out the school could be shut! Oooh! miss! miss! they're hitting me now! Mayor Curley is pinching me! Miiissssss!

It's not about "resorting" to personal attacks, it's about realising what making this complaint says about you and cutting to the chase.
posted by bonaldi at 1:13 PM on December 25, 2006


Yeah, sorry I'm not the l33t haxx0r you are. Personally, I don't give a rat's ass about what you do or don't steal, but if you can't get it around your reptilian brain that asking here how to do it isn't kosher, then maybe you should be back in that class you're reminiscing about.

Matt and Jess agreed with my point. Where are the personal attacks against them? What, are you some kind of pussy? You're also welcome, on your next visit to NYC, to stop down by my place and we'll see if your bravado holds up in person.
posted by mkultra at 1:38 PM on December 25, 2006


You're also welcome, on your next visit to NYC, to stop down by my place and we'll see if your bravado holds up in person.

flagged as utterly lame
posted by pyramid termite at 1:44 PM on December 25, 2006


Coo ur ... from no-mates tattle-tale to internet hardman in one shambolic post. I didn't criticize Matt/Jess because you don't criticize the teacher when she enforces the rule, you criticize the classroom lawyer who shoved it in her face so she had no choice.
posted by bonaldi at 2:00 PM on December 25, 2006


What's this? A flameout? For Christmas!?! How wonderful! Oh, Matt, Jess... you didn't have to stage a flameout just for us! It's... its the best Christmas ever! God bless us every one.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:47 PM on December 25, 2006


Personally, I don't give a rat's ass about what you do or don't steal, but if you can't get it around your reptilian brain that asking here how to do it isn't kosher

The question didn't ask how to steal.
posted by spaltavian at 3:08 PM on December 25, 2006


...and even if it had asked about how to illegally copy music, it still wouldn't be about stealing.

*yawn*
posted by bingo at 4:55 PM on December 25, 2006


No choice? What, I was holding a gun to their head? Give it up, boy. Your rationalizations are pathetic.

Spaltavian, enlighten me- what is the poster asking, if not instructions on how to facilitate her mother stealing music? Or is this another "downloading music is not stealing" pablum?
posted by mkultra at 6:33 PM on December 25, 2006


I was right with "vainglorious" then. I'm not rationalizing anything here, least of all piracy of music, which I'm very aware has considerable moral elements.

The "no choice" thing, as you well know, is about when some spotty oik holds up his hand and forces the teacher to address something they were aware of, but were reserving judgement on and letting lie. That kid is you, lad. Keep on flaming out though, this is top.
posted by bonaldi at 6:43 PM on December 25, 2006


So, let me get this straight- by your logic, the post deserved deletion, but you preferred that it fly under the radar rather than be pointed out? Nice.

Try to work on those argument skills so you don't come across like such a moron.
posted by mkultra at 9:03 PM on December 25, 2006


mkultra, it asks how to use programs to download music. It does not ask how to pirate music. Not all artists are under the RIAA, not all artists are against their music being downloaded, and not all music still has a current copyright. If I ask for your advice on how to shoot a gun, that is not the same as asking how to murder someone.

Speaking of pablum, you know shit about the law. Downloading music is a tort. It's copyright infringement, a civil issue, not theft, a criminal one.
posted by spaltavian at 9:33 PM on December 25, 2006 [1 favorite]


If you read that post as anything but asking how to facilitate piracy, you've got serious blinders on and I can't help you.
posted by mkultra at 7:33 AM on December 26, 2006


If you read your bloviations here as anything but asshattery, you've got serious blinders on and we can't help you.
posted by blasdelf at 8:49 AM on December 26, 2006


It doesn't matter how you or I read the question, mkultra, it matters what the question says. It doesn't matter how much a cop knows I've done something illegal, if he doesn't have any evidence, I go free. All you have is your "Look how moral I am" bullshit, which you wish to cram down everyone else's throat.

The question does not ask how to pirate music. It does not pose any legal liability to the site. It is neither a crime nor a tort. It doesn't even break this site's posted guidelines, too bad Matt caved in to your hysterics.

So, what was your point again? Anything other than trying to enforce your retarded morality where it has no place?
posted by spaltavian at 10:55 AM on December 26, 2006


I'm really flattered that you think I have the sway I do over the admins. Really.

The question does not ask how to pirate music.

A cursory reading of the post reveals this to be utterly untrue. Here's the relevan part, in case there are too many words for you to parse:

So, I need to teach her how to search for song lyrics effectively using quotes and boolean operators, then how to search for torrents online and assess whether or not they're useless.
posted by mkultra at 12:37 PM on December 26, 2006


BTW, this is my last comment on the topic. If you still want to jerk off about your right to piracy, have at it.
posted by mkultra at 12:51 PM on December 26, 2006


Don't get your ego caught in the doorframe.
posted by tkolar at 1:39 PM on December 26, 2006


I never said I had a right to piracy, and the quoted portion of question does not ask how to pirate music. It asks how to search for music based on lyrics. Once again: Not all artists are under the RIAA, not all artists are against their music being downloaded, and not all music still has a current copyright.

I am seriously beginning to question your ability to read.
posted by spaltavian at 4:36 PM on December 26, 2006


by your logic, the post deserved deletion, but you preferred that it fly under the radar rather than be pointed out?
Er, no. By my logic, the post was in a grey area without a clear ruling on it, and I prefer that the rules surrounding AskMe be kept as loose as possible. Once it was pointed out by goody-goody ultra-shoes, they had to make the ruling firm.

I am seriously beginning to question your ability to read.
You might want to try going to NYC and saying that!
posted by bonaldi at 5:27 PM on December 26, 2006


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