‘Piracy doesn’t rob….politicians do!’

Bulgarians opposed to the recent BitTorrent crackdown have taken the time to create a pro-P2P video to spread their message of what’s happening in their country, and the words may be in Bulgarian but, the message is universal.

A Bulgarian “contact”(sounds so clandestine) who wishes to remain anonymous, has been kind enough to translate a new pro-P2P video that denounces his governments crackdown on BitTorrent sites, and which notes that the state is the real criminal and not the citizens who merely “dare” to share songs with their friends.

In case your unfamiliar with what has transpired in Bulgaria in recent weeks, the government has embarked on an oddly timed and oddly enforced crackdown on BitTorrent trackers sites across the country.

What makes it oddly timed is that as one reader using the alias “Grezko” points out, “The “persecution” to the torrent trackers strangely coinsides(sic) with the preliminary report on the so cold(sic) “list 301″(in this list the US government warns its companies in which countries in the world “violatins”(sic) to authority rights are most spread).” Now I’m not familiar with the report he’s referring to but, could it be that the Bulgarian government is preemptively cracking down on file-sharing for public relations relations purposes before the report is completed?

Another reader using the alias “5roff” speculates that endemic corruption at the highest levels of the Bulgarian government is to blame for tech crackdown, that it’s not as straight-forward as the “..US government or MPAA who enforced Bulgarian special forces to persecute trackers and uploaders.” For there seems to be no comparable crackdown on the street vendors peddling physical pirated DVDs and CDs, or upon the blatant copyright violations of TV programming on the airwaves. Is it because the government can’t get a cut of file-sharing, that there are no profits to extort revenue from, and that it in fact harms the profitability of physical pirates that serve as the motives for its crackdown on BitTorrent sites? It makes you wonder.

This notion of “pirate revenue” and its lessees due to file-sharing are further contemplated by yet another reader, “Weingro”(From the movie Heat?). He writes:

Hello from me, i’m BG too. Trouble with this law enforcement is, it’s HARDLY NOT respecting the Bulgarian laws, as well as the BG Constitution. The police officers, who carried out the “action”, show neihter knowledge of the bit-torrent system, nor of the law, that they are supposed to protect and oblidge to. Not to mention the attempt to filter the internet, an illegal measure, which is used by the contemporary communist regimes only. At the same time, the government shows few to none interest to the sellers of piracy CD’s, and numerous cases of copyright violations, such as TV shows, tv/radio commercials, etc. Some of us strongly believe, the government anti-torrent actions are mainly dedicated to the pirate CD sellers, since their bosses are the ones who would benefit in case the torrents stop. Without torrents, most of the people would prefer to buy cheap pirate discs, instead of copyrighted. Not to mention, BG government shows A GREAT deal of respect and tollerance to the criminals on all levels, where big amounts of money are involved.

I think he aptly summarizes what I think are larger forces at work than simply a concern for copyright laws and protections on the part of the Bulgarian government. Coukld it be that corruption and the concern for protecting what is certainly a lucrative business the real reason for the crackdown on BitTorrent sites? It seems to be a no-brainer that officials would want to protect a guaranteed source of money under the table to line their pockets with, and that BitTorrent, with its FREE pirated content directly clashes with their selfish interests.

So how do we know that Bulgaria is as corrupt as people are saying and that protecting physical pirates is thus their motivation? Well actually, our very own United States government. The US State Dept notes that “Despite Bulgaria‚Äôs many successes, organized crime and corruption remain problems.”

In fact, just yesterday Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry announced that it “Over the past six months, prosecution launched investigation on 599 corruption cases,” and that “Nearly 300 people have been sentenced on charges of corruption.” The announcement furthers that it “…carried out 988 corruption inspections,” and that “Among the institutions inspected are five ministries, 47 administrations and 93 municipal offices.”

Now certainly this crackdown on corruption is a good sign but, it makes me wonder several things: How much is left? How high did the corruption go or perhaps still go? How will further corruption be prevented? I don’t think anybody knows the answer to any of these questions but, if there’s one thing I’ve observed about corruption is that it’s always the junior guys, the foot soldiers, who are first to go. The real power brokers behind government corruption are rarely prosecuted, and without this occurring it essentially tells people that corruption is okay, that it is tolerated.

So what I guess can be concluded form all of this is that perhaps it is corruption that is the diving force of this crackdown on Bulgarian BitTorrent sites and that this is the message that needs to be heard by all.

With this in mind, I have a video for you to watch that speaks, or sings rather, about what’s going on in Bulgaria. The country may be a different one, but corruption, greed, and extortion are known to all. The internet must always remain FREE!

Like the video says, “Piracy doesn’t rob….politicians do!”