Pirate hunting, Russian style

Ananova reports on perhaps the most bizarre vacation idea yet: intentionally attracting the attention of pirates (real pirates, as in criminals of the high seas), armed with high-powered weapons. As quoted from the article:

Wealthy punters pay £3,500 per day to patrol the most dangerous waters in the world hoping to be attacked by raiders.

When attacked, they retaliate with grenade launchers, machine guns and rocket launchers, reports Austrian business paper Wirtschaftsblatt.

Passengers, who can pay an extra £5 a day for an AK-47 machine gun and £7 for 100 rounds of ammo, are also protected by a squad of ex special forces troops.

(Exchange rates at time of writing: £1 = approx. US$1.65 = approx. €1.18)

Not surprisingly, there’s some opposition. Since these are international waters, only the international maritime laws would apply. There appear to be no such laws restricting the arming of a ship against potential pirates, only against the actual acts of piracy themselves.

I personally take a dim view of those who engage in a career of theft on the high seas; as I have written previously, I don’t take the abuse of the term “pirate” to apply to one who violates copyright law lightly. The people who choose to steal and murder on the high seas for a living deserve to meet a bullet or two (or five, or ten, or a hundred) from an AK-47. Some Russian company has found people willing to pay for the privilege. Big surprise.

That said, this is truly a vacation for those who enjoy living dangerously. But, it’s not a vacation I’ll be taking anytime soon. For now, I intend to limit my living dangerously to skydiving when the budget allows, and driving around Houston (and any other large cities I may visit) when it doesn’t.

The RIAA: the true pirates

It totally amazes me what the RIAA is doing in attempts to retain a clearly outdated business model.

Electronista reports on one of the RIAA’s infamous lawsuits. The interesting thing about this lawsuit? The defendant did not even have a computer!

Combined with the absolutely absurd verdict against Jammie Thomas-Rasset, it makes me wonder what we have come to. And yet the RIAA, like the rest of the copyright lobby, still uses the loaded word “piracy” to describe sharing. And in light of what the RIAA is doing, the hypocrisy is glaring.

Robbing someone for $1.92 million for sharing music? That’s the kind of money pirates take home after boarding and looting a ship. Fleecing the musicians who work their tails off by paying them pocket change for a $15-20 album sale? The RIAA executives should don the eye-patch and a parrot, and fly the skull and crossbones in front of their offices.

The RIAA has a lot more in common with crimes on the high seas than anyone sharing music with friends, or even with random people. This is why the FSF recommends avoiding use of the term “piracy” to describe copyright infringement, and rightfully so.

I think it is unfortunate that those who are against the current copyright establishment have chosen to associate themselves with criminals of the high seas, even glamorizing them.

(Yes, it’s robbery even if one uses the courts to do it.)