pirates-of-the-amazon redux 
Saturday, December 6, 2008, 17:22
ok, so i just came off dutch radio show Radio Online where i was asked to shed some light on the Pirates-Of-The_Amazon situation;

While being portrayed as one of the 'driving forces' behind the project and possibly even 'the author', i was asked about how the add-on actually works, how this is an artistic project, and several questions regarding Stichting Brein's response and also the response from Amazon (and their lawyers) - and the consequent take-down.

To conclude some of these things here:

Sure, i know the guys who made it. I think it is great work and believe this shows through the discussion it now generates, therefor i have supported the project and will continue to do so. This also goes for the medialab which i am a part of, and i am happy to say that we have worked with the project authors which also led us to organise and host the upcoming Artzilla.org Launch Party on the 13th.

However as far as being 'responsible' for it or even being one of the authors, i will say this: The afore mentioned anti-piracy organisation seems to conclude from a post i made to Nettime that i am the projects author, while my main purpose there was of course to advertise the event i am organising at WORM, since thats what i do... and besides that I think from looking at the stuff on this website (which is my homepage) you could conclude that i am not really into coding Firefox add-ons... not my thing really ;)

Nevertheless Brein proceeded to send me an email claiming I was the author and kindly requesting me to take the website down, accompanied by several reasons why I am, according to them, breaking the law.
This subsequently went into dutch mainstream media, which i find rather unfortunate since it presumes the 'student' to be me, while (again) i am not and furthermore i'm not even a student at PZI/MDMA at all, at least not anymore.

I won't go into the further details on this here, but basically my response to Brein director Tim Kuik was an invitation to the event on the 13th - so he can engage in the discussion there, and i certainly hope he does exactly that.
And just to say the actual take-down of the website was done by free choice of the authors after they had been contacted by Amazon lawyers, already one day after the release, so Brein really didn't have anything to do with that..

Here's a selective overview of major articles and blogposts on the topic, with also the current state of the project as it now roams the interwebz:

initial release: Torrentfreak.com posts an article with a rather suggestive title, the story also appears on digg.com, where it receives quite some attention.
The story goes crazy in the blogosphere and later also mainstream media catch on, like the Washington Post, Wired, and the New York Times - to name but a few.

In the meantime the letter from Amazon lawyers arrives and the work gets taken down; since many people complain about the site not being accessible anymore, Torrentfreak decides to mirror the .xpi file on their site, which can be found on the bottom of the original article (actually also Wired links directly to that file in their article).
Also the torrent-community decides to host the file, as it now also appears on the Pirate bay.

In the comment section on the Piratebay a discussion emerges on how to improve the add-on and plans are made to release and host a new version. Next to that, after an article on CNet, comes the (imo) most hilarious bit so far: a new add-on that 'reverses' the original 'Pirates of the Amazon' code:

"You've seen "Pirates at Amazon", now here's the reverse - adds GoogAzon-style quick Amazon results to ThePirateBay.org and Mininova.org websites. For those with an attack of Conscience (or simply impatience), here's a plugin to help you sleep at night."

you can get that one here, and to me this shows (quite elegantly i might add) that at least some people appreciate the humor of all this...

edit: as far as the current 'revision into parody' on the original site goes; i dont agree with this at all, i believe the authors/artist should stand behind what they have created - and besides that i believe the reasons to be 'scared' are largely overblown...
but thats another story.

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