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Admiralty Courts and piracy

kien (571074) writes | more than 11 years ago

User Journal 0

Stumbled across this tidbit today while reading The Source A Guidebook of American Genealogy, Szucs Luebking © 1997 Ancestry Incorporated.Stumbled across this tidbit today while reading The Source A Guidebook of American Genealogy, Szucs Luebking © 1997 Ancestry Incorporated.

Before 1697, no special courts of admiralty existed. Maritime matters were handled by existing common law courts sitting with juries. The English government asked these courts to enforce the Trade and Navigation Acts, but jury members, who had themselves been guilty of violating those same laws, were reluctant to convict their fellow citizens.

Fast-forward to today, when people swapping files are "pirates" and people that break the controls (CSS) used to enforce the power of a cartel are found innocent by a jury (Dmitry Sklyarov).

Here's the interesting part:

These breaches included failure to enter, clear, and register vessels, neglecting to carry the proper certificate, trading in ships not English-built, navigating without the proper number of seamen, smuggling, and illicit trade. The Boston Tea Party was a revolt against the harshness of these acts.

The analogies are fascinating...Napster was the Boston Tea Party and every single piece of software that enables people to swap files is another battle in this revolution. It's the revolutionary, decentralized hackers against the entrenched, structured entertainment industry. Quite interesting.

Also interesting in this context is how careful the entertainment industry (recently dubbed the MAFIAA) has been to avoid jury trials. Remember, Adobe tried to back away from the Sklyarov case once it became a criminal matter that involved a jury. This raises the question: Why are these companies pursuing civil litigation and avoiding pressure upon the Department of Justice to enforce federal law? My guess is that out-of-court settlements that devastate their target are more preferable than a trial by jury.

History seems to prove that when laws get too onerous, people disregard them; and when the benefactors of those laws push the issue, they piss people off to the point where their sphere of control is toppled.

Fasten your seatbelts, mates, and watch the entertainment cartels aggressively make themselves irrelevant. It's shaping up to be one helluva ride!

--K.

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