Ethics within Computer Copyright Issues


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Ethics within Computer Copyright Issues

  1. 1. Ethics within Computer Copyright IssuesCopyright Infringement and the InternetThe ethical issue of copyright issues has been a major issue with the internet, due to the recent creation of the peer to peer networks (recent as in the past 15 years). This has to deal with the transfer of music, software, and other copyrighted material over the internet, almost always illegally. However, is this really stealing from the record and software companies, or merely are we as the people standing up to a monopoly? The first part of the paper discusses the laws which were instated for the sole purpose of copyright infringement (Title 17 Chapter 5 and the DMCA), then taking a look into the networks that make this mass infringement possible, finally finishing off by stating the ethical issues for and against downloading the material and incorporating end user rights and miscellaneous material.2009Jacob M. SaylorMurray State University4/12/2009<br />Ethics within Computer Copyright Issues<br />Jacob Saylor<br />CSC-540-01<br />Table of Contents TOC o " 1-3" h z u Introduction PAGEREF _Toc228121811 h 2Title 17 Chapter 5 PAGEREF _Toc228121812 h 2Digital Millennium Copyright Act PAGEREF _Toc228121813 h 3Title I PAGEREF _Toc228121814 h 3Title II PAGEREF _Toc228121815 h 4Title III PAGEREF _Toc228121816 h 4Title IV PAGEREF _Toc228121817 h 4Title V PAGEREF _Toc228121818 h 5Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Notable Court Cases PAGEREF _Toc228121819 h 5Viacom versus Google PAGEREF _Toc228121820 h 5IO Group versus Veoh PAGEREF _Toc228121821 h 5Peer to Peer Copyright Infringements PAGEREF _Toc228121822 h 6What is Peer to Peer PAGEREF _Toc228121823 h 6The Law versus P2P PAGEREF _Toc228121824 h 6Torrents PAGEREF _Toc228121825 h 6The Law versus Torrents PAGEREF _Toc228121826 h 7Ethical Issues against Downloading Copyrighted Material PAGEREF _Toc228121827 h 7Ethical Issues for Downloading Copyrighted Materials PAGEREF _Toc228121828 h 8Why the United States Population Hasn’t Been Thrown In Jail PAGEREF _Toc228121829 h 8End User Rights PAGEREF _Toc228121830 h 9Music PAGEREF _Toc228121831 h 9Movies PAGEREF _Toc228121832 h 9Software PAGEREF _Toc228121833 h 10Miscellaneous Uses PAGEREF _Toc228121834 h 10Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc228121835 h 10Works Cited PAGEREF _Toc228121836 h 11Notes 12<br />Introduction<br />In the telecommunications world today we currently face many different ethical issues from minor things like stealing another person’s internet, to major things such as hacking and stealing ones identity. Probably the most popular issue however is that of copyright infringement on a personal level. Laws currently in use prevent the coping of copyrighted material, and the consequences include a minimum of five years plus a seven hundred and fifty dollar minimum charge per song illegally downloaded or transferred. We however as a nation download these songs, movies, and software on a monumental scale, with almost no repercussions what so ever. The question is asked though, is it alright to download these various forms of multimedia due to a massive monopoly the records companies hold over us, or is it unethical to download and swap the multimedia, cheating the song writers and artists out of their money. <br />Title 17 Chapter 5<br />Whether a person is for or against the downloading or swapping of items which are copyrighted, there are still various laws which prohibit the transfer of personal multimedia, whether it’s to another person outside of the household, or for commercial use. The law that closely pertains to this issue is Title 17, United States Code, and Chapter 5. This covers information from what infringement of copyright means to what to do when limiting liabilities online.<br />Section 501 starts off the chapter describing copyright infringement. <br />“Anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner as provided by sections 106 through 122 [To basically reproduce, derive from, or publicly display without authorization of copyrighted work] or of the author as provided in section 106A(a)[ Have the right to claim right over visual he or she created], or who imports copies or phonorecords into the United States in violation of section 602[ Replications are not permitted to be imported unless intended for not for private gain with permission from the copyright holder], is an infringer of the copyright or right of the author, as the case may be. “ (Chapter 5 Copyright Infringement and Remedies)<br />This explicitly describes how a person could be considered stealing. The next sections, b through f, explain how infringement could occur including means such as a ‘secondary transmission by a cable system’ such as a television broadcast. Section 502 speaks briefly about injunctions, and what the courts may do to restrain infringement of that copyright. Section 503 grants rights to the court to impound the work in question. This would include any master, negatives, or any means which they may be reproduced. <br />Sections 504 to 505 discuss remedies for infringement. It goes over the idea of the copyright owner is entitled to be returned all of his or her profits or gains which were lost in the infringement issue. It goes further dealing out sanctions on certain items such as a plaintiff having to pay up to twice the cost of the license, upon any other fees which were issued, and even court costs. <br />Section 506 discusses criminal offences, such as the willful reproduction and distribution, to altering the copyright license, usually ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 in fines. Sections 507 to 509 discuss the limitations and procedures of the court. For example, limiting civil actions only being able to take action within a certain time frame, and which items are to be seized and destroyed in this time frame. 510 briefly discuss the alteration of a cable system, more or less the loss of a communication license because of major traffic of illegal items. Section 511 is very interesting in the fact of it limits official workers also. In no way may a government official find him or herself exempt of copyright laws. <br />Section 512 is a lengthy section which overviews what the service provider is liable for. In general it states that if the multimedia in question is automatically sent through the ‘cable system’ and it directly sends the material to a certain person or persons, then it is not responsible, especially for the paying of the fines imposed in the previous section. In other words as long as ISP does not specifically send packets to certain subscriber which they know are copyright protected, they are not liable. Section 513 finishes off Chapter 5 with explaining what the court can do about sentencing and what the copyright holder can do about commencing a proceeding. <br />Digital Millennium Copyright Act<br />Down the road congress decided to engage in more protection for online copyright infringement. With this, there was an unanimous vote of a bill signed by Bill Clinton to create The Digital Millennium Copyright Act or (DMCA). This act helped define even deeper into what are online copyright issues, especially with that of music and video, and helped give service providers more of a shield to hide behind if issues were to arise on their network. <br />The Digital Millennium Copyright Act actually implements two already legislations created by the World Intellectual Property Organization or (WIPO). This Organization deals with on a global scale issues with copyright and trademark issues, not only dealing with online multimedia. These two legislations include the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. With these legislations included, the DMCA is then divided into five titles. The DMCA also deals with criminalizing production and criminalizes the production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to get around the copyrighted material, while raising the penalties and stipulations given for online copyright infringement. (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)<br />Title I<br />The first title deals with the two legislations previously mentioned. It begins by explaining that countries need to protect their copyrighted items from other countries that do not include these copyright laws into their own. It expresses for further concern of imposing software to protect these on the now digital network. It then explains what copyright infringement is and what is exempt which as follows: Non-profit library, archive and educational institution exception, reverse engineering with rights to disassemble, encryption research, protection of minors, the endangering of personal privacy, and security testing with authorization from its owner. It finishes by stating the fines and imprisonment for the intent to make profit and break copyright laws, giving up to $500,000 and five years for the first time, and again leaving non-profit library, archive and educational institution exempt from criminal liability. <br />Title II<br />The second title of the DMCA deals with online copyright infringement liability limitation. These deal with transitory communications, system caching, storage of personal information, and information location tools. It starts out by explaining about transitory communications, and the service provider’s liability. It states,” In general terms, section 512(a) limits the liability of service provides in circumstance where the provider merely acts as a data conduit…” (" DMCA" 10) This basically translates to if the service provider merely transmits the information from source to the requested destination, and has no knowing of the copyright infringement occurring, then it is not liable for damages done. It then goes into discussing about the limitations imposed upon system caching, or the storing copies of information to speed up network bandwidth. As long as the service provider directly sends the information to the request destination, then again, the service provider is not liable. <br />Next item discussed is the information which is stored on a service provider’s server which infringes copyrights and if the service provider is liable for such instances. They list in three simple items the answer. First is whether the service provider has knowledge of this material on their machine. Second if the service provider is gaining any monetary value from the copyrighted material. Finally if the service provider takes it does not take it down. If the service provider answered no to all these questions, it implies that the service provider carries no responsibilities for its subscriber’s actions. The final topic in title III is that of the limitation of location tools, or search engines. It basically states that the search engines, even if they do link to a copyright infringing site or material, is liable for that content, it is merely a road taken to get there.<br />Title III<br />The third title deals with copyright infringement and computer repair and maintenance. Basically if a person was to reformat his or her computer, and the material does not exist on the hard drive, they are allowed to make copies for the sole purpose to put the software on the new install or machine. This only applies however if the owner has the original content and a valid software license. As soon as the software is installed however, the user has to destroy all copies made to not be liable for copyright infringement. <br />Title IV<br />The fourth title entails miscellaneous provisions such as ephemeral recordings, or recordings made at radio stations to prevent changing cd to cd when playing music. This is not considered infringement as long as the record company has permission to play these songs already. Before this act, the record companies were only allowed to retain this ‘recording’ for up to six months and only one was allowed to be made at a time. It then discusses exemption to distance educational study, which congress at this time was trying to promote. It gives almost full exemption to those students taking an online course work away from campus. Next is the exemption for libraries and archives. Before the DMCA, libraries were allowed to make only a single copy to be checked out not on digital form. Now with title IV, the library is able to make up to three copies, even digital, and not technically infringe any copyrighted material. <br />Title V<br />Title V is the final title in the DMCA, also called the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act (VHDPA), adds chapter 13 to the previous discussed Title 17. It merely covers the protection of hulls of vessels, anything that travels in water and states when a copyright can be applied for and the latest date it can be applied for (two years after it goes public). Title V finishes by stating the effective date of DMCA. It explains most provisions are effective on the date of enactment. There is a few that will wait until the relevant treaty comes into action, such as Title I. As of now, the act is in full force taking complete power in 2000. <br />Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Notable Court Cases<br />Viacom versus Google<br />The first case was on March 13, 2007, when Viacom, owner of Paramount pictures, DreamWorks, and multiple cable channels, claimed that Google had cost more than $1 billion dollars in damages with the site YouTube, with users posting up various programs which was viewed over 1.5 billion times which Viacom had aired at a previous time. Google lawyers used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 to defend themselves stating that they have no knowledge of the copyright infringement, they are merely giving space for people to promote the youth and growing America while taping-into the online advertising market. Google also stated that they removed the material as soon as it was brought to their attention, also defined in the DMCA to help their case it was not copyright infringement. (Broache and Sandoval) <br />Later on, Viacom and Google head back to court to settle the dispute. Viacom however asks a large amount of Google’s IP (Intellectual Property). Viacom asks to receive Google’s search code to see if Google ‘encourages’ copyright infringement searching, their video ID program (state of the art software which will identify copyrighted material from alike frames), all removed videos, data from log in database to check login times and names (including IP addresses), database schemas for all the videos, and all private videos on YouTube. The judge said no on all accounts because of the large commercial loss which Google would face besides user histories, the log in database. Google responded with stating Viacom is going against the very thing that the DCMA was trying to create, an internet which would support both the copyright holders and internet services such as YouTube, and to help give the world free access to a wealth of knowledge that would not exists if certain items were not exempt from the copyright list. (Dignan)<br />IO Group versus Veoh<br />IO Group is an adult entertainment company which markets various adult videos. Similar to YouTube, Veoh is a company which allows for users to submit their own videos online. The problem however is in two different places, the uploaded copyrighted videos by IO Group, and the conversion of the videos to a flash format made it easier to upload and view the copyrighted videos. What saved the Veoh networks was two items both listed in the DMCA. The first item being that IO Group immediately filed a law suit rather than inform Veoh Networks, which stated in the DMCA is that the Copyright Holder must first contact the company performing the infringing work. Second is the fact that service provider was merely storing the data, which clearly in Title II holds the service provider not liable. Veoh networks even had counter copyright infringement applications and procedures in place to fight such occurrences. (IO Group v Veoh Networks)<br />Peer to Peer Copyright Infringements<br />What is Peer to Peer<br /> A peer to peer network is basically computers connected to each other through a few amount of servers or a node of some sort. A true P2P, or peer to peer, network would consist of adhoc connections of nodes to nodes acting as both client and server, a perfect setup for file sharing as is used today. Software engineers have created a mass of these different P2P networks these days to mass communicate audio, video, and software applications between clients. An example of the popular ones used to download such applications is Napster, Grokster, or Limewire. <br />The Law versus P2P<br />There is one court case that everyone knows and associates with P2P, Napster. The Recording Industry Association of America, also known as the RIAA, is the group which brought Napster into court. At that time the company consisted of forty workers who worked on keeping the servers up to date. Napster’s mistake however was keeping the information on their servers which consisted of logs of music on the different nodes on the net, making all the initial searching done on the server. Napster ended up shutting down for a short period because of the court on the grounds it was allowing the reproduction and distribution of copyrighted material. (Peer-to-peer)<br />This is where the law starts to concentrate on the individual person rather than the companies that own the P2P software. Companies which produced P2P networks applications started issuing a ‘do not download copyrighted material’, and started storing the log information for the searches on the ‘nodes’ rather than a main server at their companies. This produces a wall which the companies can hide behind if such a fate came down upon them like Napster. This was proved when Grokster was able to prove that their P2P network was able to be used with non-copyrighted material.<br />Torrents<br />Torrents are basically a peer to peer networking system, but with a twist. Only one file needs to be uploaded at once, the seed, and then the multimedia can be transmitted from bits and pieces across the network through multiple TCP sockets. This even though is not great for immediate playback due to the time it takes to gather enough nodes, it speeds up the process of gaining a whole cd compared to the time it would take download a single song in a general P2P. Due to the recent popularity and speed, Torrents are now about 35% of all internet traffic, with companies beginning to use it as their protocol to transfer information, such as Blizzard Entertainment. (Bit Torrent (protocol))<br />The downside of torrents however is the ability to view the IP address of the people downloading or uploading due to the tracking system. This is unlike the P2P which uses an intermediate node to create anonymity. This is changing soon with DHT, or distributed hash table, allowing a trackerless system with the use of hash lookup. Another issue is the throttling of the internet from Internet Service Providers. The ISPs will track the Torrents and limit the traffic, freeing up bandwidth for all their clients. Protocol encryptions, however, have recently combated this by hiding the torrent’s packets from the ISP. <br />The Law versus Torrents<br />Torrents in themselves are not illegal, as in general P2P servers, but how they are used in some areas of the world can make them illegal (downloading copyrighted files). Major Hollywood companies have filed various suits with numbers and verdicts behind closed doors which resulted in the closing of many major sites such as and TorrentSpy. The most famous however was, whose servers were raided by Swedish officials on May 31st, 2006. The site was shut down but was up again within three days. Countless companies and copyright holders such as Microsoft and Universal Studios have sent cease and desist with no result because of Sweden’s copyright policy. <br />Recently however HBO has taken the law into their own hands sending cease and desist letters to ISPs to send to subscribers, threatening to shut their internet off if they do not stop the illegal downloading of their movies. HBO has then started to ‘poison’ downloads located online with fake packets to corrupt the data, leaving movies and shows useless on a client’s machine. No case specifically from HBO though has been filed, unlike the RIAA, since April 2007. <br />Ethical Issues against Downloading Copyrighted Material<br />Most people that are against downloading copyrighted materials such as music or DVDs will bring up at first that it is against the law. After discussing that previously in the paper it is time to bring up what else is said, the ethical issues of presented of why not to download these different forms of multimedia. These include hurting the multimedia industry, damage productivity, and being dangerous.<br />The multimedia giants like to point when combating illegal downloading of copyrighted material that they are not only hurting the artists, they are taking income away from everybody from the security guards to the best boys. All these employees seem to get the grunt blow when the companies decide to cut spending. The record and other multimedia companies claim that 750,000 jobs have been lost in 20 years due to copyright infringement with a total of $200 to $250 Billion dollars lost annually. (Sanchez)<br />Another argument seems to be damaging productivity, such as constricting bandwidth, etc… During most peak hours the network can slow by at least 60% because of P2P and Torrent activity. ISP’s have been taking steps as throttling bandwidth and finding the large downloader, but with no recent luck, they just watch their network come to crawl. <br />Finally we come the dangers of illegal downloading. This can be dangerous in two different ways. The First danger is identity theft. A lot of torrents contain backdoors which allow people with malicious intent to obtain sensitive material. The second danger is that of the idea of ‘stealing’. Many believe that this is hurting society as a whole. When bringing up illegal downloading, record companies will compare to stealing an iPod or a CD right out of a store, stating that downloading and stealing this intellectual property for personal use is tearing our economy apart as a whole.<br />Ethical Issues for Downloading Copyrighted Materials<br />Advocates of downloading copyrighted materials usually respond by stating that the record companies make enough money. The average blank cd and DVDs usually costs anywhere from 3 to 25 cents to the record company, with the average price of a cd somewhere around $12 dollars and DVDs around $21. Consumers find this a rip-off, especially in these times when economy is not the greatest. Why spend so much money on a disk that costs so little to reproduce? Record companies will state they have to pay the royalties to the artist, but when Tom Cruise gets an average of $60 million dollars per film, isn’t that a little ridiculous? Teenagers and especially college kids have minimal money to spend, not being able to afford a new cd to pay for rent or books. <br />Next is the idea that ‘everyone’ is doing it. Ethical problems arise when the majority declares it is wrong. Society does as a whole condemn stealing property, especially that cd in the store. More and more people everyday are learning to download illegally off the internet and networks. What started off as computer savvy people obtaining their favorite cd or DVD off of a P2P network now has turned into torrents, which offer the search online with an easy guide to follow of how to download torrents (legal ones) and current P2P networks that make it easy for even a grandma to connect and download her favorite cd. <br />Another reason why people believe that this is ethical is the issue of exposure. Smaller bands which no one has heard of are less likely to sell CDs in stores unlike main stream artists. The downloading of the songs of these smaller bands allow for people to hear their music, which in turn will draw people into the stores. This is a great way to demo a cd that someone intends to buy from the small, rather spending the $12 dollars a whole cd for just one song. ITunes has helped reduce this occurrence, but still face the high prices that they recently raised due to the ‘copyright infringement’. <br />A recent issue which has been brought up is the archiving of DVD’s and software. Many people have dealt with accidently stepping on one of their DVD’s or software cd. Currently it is illegal to make copies of these for backup. (See End User: Movies for information about laws) This throws many movie buffs into a frenzy that they cannot either back up the movie for later watching on an IPod or computer, or a copy in case something was to happen to the original.<br />Why the United States Population Hasn’t Been Thrown In Jail<br />For three reasons most Americans have not been thrown in jail. The first reason is because that it is almost impossible to track most of this network activity. The second is the fact that due to the mass amount of people breaking the law, there is no possible way to even incarcerate and fine that many people accurately. The final reason is that of the legal differences between uploading and downloading. <br />The way P2P currently works, as previously explained, is going anonymity through another node, not giving away the downloader’s identity. This makes it virtually impossible for a law enforcement officer to gain a warrant to search your computer. Even to get help from internet service providers seems useless with the current encryption of the data flying back and forth, especially with the new encryption types on the torrents. Really all the authorities can do for now is sit and throttle how much of this information we get. There is also the fact of the authorities can’t tell if the multimedia that is downloaded is copyrighted or not. People will end up searching for a title or artist online, not if it is copyrighted or not. In other words not all the music or movies downloaded are copyrighted, forcing the authorities to have to sort through all the music and movies on the computer, which is not happening anytime soon. This is especially relevant when talking about software due to the mass amount of open source and trial software out there in use on a computer along with the ones needing a license.<br />On P2P networks as of today there is a little over 1 billion tracks that are transferred monthly. Apple’s ITunes has only sold 2 billion since its launch in 2003 (numbers as of 2007). If you were to take an average of 800 illegal songs, received from a poll from University of Hertfordshire, which would be approximately 1.25 million users. <br />When it comes to downloading music keep in mind to stay legal in the future, one must make sure that the songs and site state that they are free for downloading. It is however currently still not illegal to download copyrighted music. Uploading is illegal currently, and this is when the multimedia companies technically can take legal actions against a company or person.<br />End User Rights<br />Music<br />When it comes to music, one is given the license to listen and copy for personal use as long as it was purchased legally. You are technically allowed to copy the audio tracks to your computer and do as you wish as long as you do not redistribute online to others or make copies for other people besides yourself. This also applies to the cd itself. After purchasing the cd one can also not lend the cd to others to copy to their hard drive or use it commercially without permission. <br />Movies<br />Movies are a lot different unfortunately when dealing with copying them to the computer. Almost all DVDs have some sort of encryption embedded which causes the user to break in order to copy. This is stated in the DMCA as act of copyright infringement. As of now it is still illegal to copy movies to your hard drive for archiving. Multimedia companies are helping end users with this issue by producing a new ‘premium’ DVD, a version which can be easily ripped to a computer legally since the multimedia company give the license to do so. This is out on the shelves now, costing a few dollars more than a regular DVD.<br />When dealing with the rights of the actual DVD, it is very similar to that of the cd. One can watch the movie from a DVD player, whether it is your computer or DVD player, as long as it is playing from the DVD as the source. One cannot though let anyone borrow the movie, upload it, download it (unlike audio files) or use it for commercial purposes unless the copyright owner gives permission to do so.<br />Software<br />Software has been a touchy issue when it comes to making copies. The act of making a copy of the software in iso, daa, or other similar format is illegal. Like the DVDs previously mentioned, you will almost most likely have to break encryption to copy it along with software copyright owners conceiving the possibility of you dissembling the software (strictly forbidden in the DMCA). The only way which one is allowed to make a copy into such format is for the repair or switch of computers. (See DMCA Title II) Also similar to DVD’s is the idea of downloading and uploading the iso, daa, or image file. Only if you are downloading or uploading open source or software which permits the redistribution of the software will it be legal. <br />Miscellaneous Uses<br />De minimis non curat lex, which is roughly translated as “The law does not care about trivial things,” helps personal and commercial users alike. It states that if a person is using a song for a personal slide show, at a birthday party, or a random social event, it is not technically breaking copyright infringement laws since it is receiving no commercial gain or allowing people to copy the songs in a digital format. For commercial purposes, companies can include a short clip of a song or a logo icon appears in for a split second in an advertisement and still not is breaking the copyright infringement. <br />Conclusion<br />Since the first copyright law in the United States, May 1790, Americans faced a simple choice of right and wrong with copyright infringement. Issues with pictures, videos, and music were not even relevant at the time. Throughout time, we have made laws that help shape the history of United States. The time is now upon us to where we are going to have to decide and shape what we must do about copyright infringement online. The ethical issue for not downloading is very strong with the law on its side and the idea of creating job cuts for multimedia companies. Ethical issues for the downloading do offer a great change in how we view materials which reside digitally. This would allow the transfer of material and knowledge to all, allowing ease of use for all electronic media, and allow software to advance at blazing speed. However the right and wrong line, even though blurred, is still there and we must face this decision and resulting actions if we download illegally.<br />Works Cited<br />" BitTorrent (protocol)." 20 APR 2009. Wikipedia. 20 Apr 2009<br /> <>.<br />Broache, Anne and Greg Sandoval. " Viacom sues Google over YouTube clips." CNET news 13 MAR 2007<br /> Web.20 APR 2009. <br /><>.<br />" Chapter 5 Copyright Infringement and Remedies." Copyright Law of the United States of America and<br />Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code. 11 SEPT 2001. U.S. Copyright <br />Office. 12 Apr 2009<>. <br />" Digital Millennium Copyright Act." 11 APR 2009. Wikipedia. 12 Apr 2009<br /> <>. <br />Dignan, Larry . " YouTube vs. Viacom: Google's IP wins; Users lose." ZDNET 03 JUL 2008 Web.<br />20 Apr 2009. <>.<br />Herche, Cody. " “Illegal” music downloading ." legal redux. 21 JUL 2006. ledux. 21 Apr 2009<br /> <>.<br />" IO Group v Veoh Networks." Cases of Interest. 02 APR 2009. 20 Apr 2009<br /> <>.<br />" The Law." MusicUnited. 12 Apr 2009 <>.<br />" Peer-to-peer." 19 Apr 2009. Wikipedia. 20 Apr 2009 <>.<br />Sanchez, Julian. " 750,000 lost jobs? The dodgy digits behind the war on piracy." Law and Disorder. <br />07 OCT 2008. ARS Technica. 21 Apr 2009 <<br />policy/news/2008/10/dodgy-digits-behind-the-war-on-piracy.ars>.<br />Notes<br />