To Parents

Powerful Forces Are Teaching Your Children That Stealing On The Internet Is OK

We have established this website as a resource for people who may be wondering if it really is now ethical and legal to consume media on the Internet without the owner’s permission.  There are a lot of powerful voices all around the world that say, yes, the idea that an artist or their business partners have any say on who, and how and when their art can be distributed is now outmoded and a “barrier to innovation.”  One purpose of Ethical Fan is to answer that with a resounding “No!” and to provide tools for the individual to understand why so many seemingly knowledgeable and influential people and publications now advocate for the right to make money distributing other people’s property on the Internet without their permission or compensation.

For example, this article from major publication PC Magazine says that “BitTorrent gets a bad rap.”  Nowhere in the article does the author explain that using BitTorrent to download content without the author’s permission is against United States Federal Law and that more than 200,000 people have been sued since 2010 for doing this.

Furthermore, the article does not clearly explain that once you illegally download an album or a movie onto your computer via BitTorrent, you are now part of an international network of organized crime. The IP address of your computer is broadcast to tracker websites around the world notifying millions of other computers that your computer is now a “free iTunes” available to illegally distribute the file.  Next, the content theft industry that runs sites like Isohunt and Kickass Torrents will now make money selling advertising on pages that direct people to illegally acquire pieces of the album or movie from your computer via the BitTorrent network.  All the while, internet advertising networks sell advertising on these pages, often to Internet Service Providers who are specifically targeting torrent users.

Once your computer becomes an illegal distributor, the owners of the content often send your internet service provider (ISP) notices warning you of the legal problem you now have and very often the ISP does nothing with them.  Many ISPs disregard these attempts to warn you because they do not want potential customers to know that they will impede illegal acquisition and distribution of content on BitTorrent, lest they lose a customer by doing the right thing.  Google has the largest market share on these internet advertising networks, therefore Google does almost nothing to educate you or your children before you or they get sucked into this phenomenon.  All of this leaves the parent with the responsibility of helping your family make a decision to either start breaking the law and risking legal liability for taking product from the Internet without the owner’s permission or calling a “spade a spade” saying no to stealing online.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406255011 Ahmad

    I’m glad to hear that the webcomic has hepeld your sales. (I read all the volumes of ADS at my local library after finishing what was in the archives and discovering they had it. I was impressed by the size and quality of the printed version, so I’m sure your new readers aren’t disappointing. And, hopefully, it will help make finishing the comic more affordable for you, which I look forward to whenever you have the time/money to manage it. :3) I’ve been tempted to buy the christmas deal myself, but I really need to be concentrating on gifts for other people, not for me. ^^;As far as piracy goes, I have heard of it being actually helpful once: the creators of the movie Ink’ were actually quite greatful to it being torrented.But that was a movie that no one knew about before the torrenting. If it serves as a means of virul advertising, and it actually produces sales like in the case of Ink, great.Needless to say, most movies (or comics, or whatever) don’t NEED that advertising. Not just the big ones either; if its a famous independent film/comic whatever, its not being hepeld by piracy. (And, for the record, I watched Ink throuhg netflix, not torrent, but read up on it later and found out about the whole torrenting popularity thing)In other news, the one streaming comic site that did it right was OneManga. They had a policy of not hosting scanlations of work that was already liscenced in america, and when publishers expressed that they looked down on such things, period, they took things down without (as far as I could tell) any need for legal notices, but kept up summaries and title pages and discussion boards about the manga. (Yay actually just being fans!)