Interview with Ernesto from TorrentFreak
At a time when the quality of journalism has taken a nose dive, TorrentFreak is doing it right. Writers Ernesto and Engimax use a combination of common sense and statistics to repel arguments against the use of torrents and copyright policy in general. We backtraced Ernesto’s interwebz and he was kind enough to sit down on our digital couch to discuss his site, media woes, and Megaupload.
One of the things that always impresses me about TorrentFreak is the amount of primary research you guys are doing. For example, the research on how downloads of the Avengers had no-impact on movie sales. Do you think that coverage on Internet-issues is lopsided because journalists just regurgitate a press release?
Absolutely! There are a few great journalists out there but the vast majority simply rewrite a press releases, or re-post articles from other sites. Our philosophy is that we don’t write about something when we can’t find a unique angle. There is no point in writing something up if people can already read it elsewhere on the web.
Your articles often make the point that if media conglomerates would update their delivery models (provide quicker release times, simultaneous releases, etc…) a lot of so-called piracy would simply vanish. Why do these companies seem to accept the Internet so begrudgingly?
The media conglomerates are afraid that accepting the Internet will cost them money. It’s hard to say something in general, but in the TV-business, for example, a lot of money is made on licensing deals. They need to find the right balance; the public gets what it wants but without them [media companies] losing revenue in the process. This is not as easy as it sounds. It’s the same with streaming services such as Spotify. Many users love it but artists and labels complain because the revenues are very, very low.
Is the case against Megaupload doomed to fail? Did the U.S. botch this or were they simply scare-mongering?
I’m not a lawyer, but my expertise with copyright related court cases tells me that Megaupload has a very strong case. The U.S. will have a hard time to prove that the defendants are guilty of criminal copyright infringement, and all the charges that are directly related to this. I can only guess what the true intentions of the U.S. authorities were, but it almost seems as the primary intention was to take the site out of business–to send a message to other Megaupload-style corporations and to keep Hollywood happy. What always amazes me is how the government and private lobbying organizations such as the MPAA work in tandem on these cases.