May 2021
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Yaarrrr, I be Canadian
By Julie

One of these things is not like the others.  One of these things just doesn’t belong.  Can you tell which thing is not like the others?  Can you tell by the time I finish this song?

  • Algeria
  • Argentina
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Pakistan
  • Russia
  • Thailand
  • Venezuela

If you are very smart, or were subtly influenced by my use of bold text, you may notice that Canada doesn’t seem like it quite fits in.  So, what do all of those countries have in common?  They’re all on the latest United States Priority Watch List for piracy.   There are almost 200 countries on this planet, and we made the top twelve!  That’s pretty exciting.  This list has been around for about 20 years now, and this is our first time making the cut, though we were on the lower priority list for a few years.  Now, however,  we’ve apparently surpassed Belarus, Lebanon, Turkmenistan and Vietnam, who remain on the regular watch list.  No priority for them.  Eat our dust, suckers!  Do you guys even know what piracy is?  Jeez.  We even out-pirated South Korea, who dropped off of the list this year for the first time ever.

Doesn’t it make you wonder what’s changed, though?  Our government hasn’t exactly been a pillar of productivity this past year, so it can’t be something that’s different up here.  What gives?

My guess: Joe Biden.  Do you think Obama gives a crap about internet piracy?  He’s a little busy pulling his country out of the toilet right now, I doubt that intellectual property protection is high on his to-do list.  Joe Biden, however, has always had an ear open for ESA lobbyists, and now that he’s VP, he means business.  Now we’re under “increased scrutiny”.  Oh noes!  Don’t scrutinize us!  Please?!  The words “economic sanctions” have also been tossed around, but that’s obviously ridiculous.  Can you imagine the United States actually trying to put extra tariffs on lumber or something because we won’t stop burning roms?  Get real.

The truth is that this list has been pretty much useless for the 20 years it’s been around, and though our inclusion on it may seem bizarre, it’s really just blustering.  There’s no way that we present the kind of threat that Russia and China do.  This is just a way of getting our attention.  They want us to amend our Copyright Act, and ban modchips.  Okay, we hear you, but we’ve kind of got our own stuff going on right now.  Also, I don’t know if they’ve been paying attention to our political climate lately, but not a lot gets done around here.  We’ll get to it when we get to it.

There’s also a demand for us to better police our border, but it seems to me that a country with ten times our population, who is upset that things they’ve banned are getting into their country should just police their own damn border.  Also, and this is the only thing that really bothers me, they want our government to introduce “incentives” for ISPs to help curb online piracy.  I don’t know if you’ve heard, but no ISP up here needs any additional incentive to throttle bandwidth and limit downloads.  They manage quite fine with that on their own.

All jokes aside, our inclusion on this list is absurd, and only serves to completely undermine the validity of the stupid thing anyways.  Not only is our software piracy rate lower than the other 11 countries on the priority list, it’s also lower than all 33 countries on the less serious watch list.  We’re more than meeting our international copyright obligations, and any attempt by the US to depict otherwise just makes them look foolish.

I’ve read quotes about this from both sides of the border, as well as both sides of the IP debate.  There are a few outrageous/inflamatory statements and a lot of finger pointing, but in general it seems this isn’t that big of a deal.  Nobody takes this list seriously, as it’s obviously written almost entirely by lobbyists, and has no bearing on the real world. In the long run, our place on this list will likely not affect the speed at which we draft new copyright legislation, nor the content of said legislation.  It does make us look like badasses, though.  Y’know, China, Russia, Canada.  We’re like the three musketeers.  So, that’s cool, I guess.

I don’t want to be the party pooper but I feel like we should expressly say that in no way endorses piracy.  Sure, games are too expensive and sometimes you fork out hard earned cash for something comparable to a turd sandwich but paying for games is a necessary evil.  There are a ton of free games online, ranging from the terrible to the terrific, and demos have become so obligatory to market a game that the excuse of  ‘well I just wanted to try it’ doesn’t carry water anymore.  There’s really no reason why people should pirate games anymore.  Sure, it’s the unpopular opinion to have online but that’s why you all love or hate me.  Middle ground is for the weak.

That being said, the fact that Canada is on that list is truly absurd.
1 Comment • Comments RSSTrackBack URI
  1. Tim
    2009-05-08 13:56

    In a not completely unrelated note, the latest episode of South Park about pirates is quite funny. Because of all the talk about pirates in the news, Cartman convinces several of his classmates to go Somalia, with promises of skull islands and plundering. Comedy gold!

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