Briefly: Foxtel Pirate Jailed, Uber Adds Pizza, Tough Video Games

Brief news items of note for Lifehacker readers, including: Foxtel pirate gets six months in jail, Uber offers free pizza delivery for Melt customers, why do people "enjoy" difficult video games?

Jail picture from Shutterstock

  • Transport start-up Uber is adding a new feature to its luxury taxi service: free pizza delivery on demand. MELT Pizza customers in Melbourne can now order a pizza and have an UberX driver deliver it to their door, free of charge. The deal is only available for orders of $35 and over. Click here for more information.
  • A Sydney man has been jailed for six months for providing unlawful access to encoded Foxtel subscription television broadcasts via unauthorised set-top boxes. The man's 24 years old son was also charged and placed on a good behaviour bond. The duo were allegedly part of an organised criminal network committing widespread intellectual property theft of Foxtel services. "Piracy is theft, and it’s illegal," said Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein
  • "Why the hell do we keep playing difficult video games?", Kotaku editor Mark Serrels wants to know. His argument is curiously defeatist.
  • It’s discount coupon time at Hungry Jack’s again. This season's deals include two flame-grilled Whoppers for $6.35, a Meal For Two pack for $10.95 and two mini cheeseburgers for $4.35. All vouchers are valid through to 17 June. [Via OzBargain]


    “Piracy is theft, and it’s illegal,” said Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein
    Mm. It'd be nice if anyone who quotes these guys would also add an editorial reminder that piracy of purely digital media isn't actually theft if an item has not been stolen, thus denying someone else from having it.

    They really just want to keep repeating that lie in the hopes that people will eventually believe it, and from some of the comments we see around the place, it's working.

      Are you making an argument based on legal definitions or more of a normative philosophical basis?

      Genuinely curious as I haven't done IP law in a bazillion years and can't remember it and too lazy to look itu p.

        "A person steals if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it."

        This definition is pretty much universal across most 1st world countries - a key component is the intent to deprive the owner of the property.

        Which makes these executives either unforgivably ignorant of a subject they should know more about, or deliberately dishonest.

        Last edited 07/05/14 8:47 am

          It's actually a leaf out of the Goebbel's Diaries - Something along the lines of "If you tell everyone that a square is a circle long enough and enough times then they will eventually believe that a square is indeed a circle." The exact same thing has been happening in Australian politics: Boat People = illegal" yet applying for asylum by entering a country by unusual methods is specifically protected under international law and is not illegal - but how many times have you heard politicians use the term illegal?

            Hell, even the now-accepted use of 'piracy' in the colloquial is a good example.

            My wikipedia-based understanding is that the word first came into use in like... the 1700s with regard to copyright infringement at the insistence of a publisher who had paid for exclusivity on publishing a certain work, but found that others had copied and were printing their own versions.

            That publisher started calling it 'piracy' without that being the actual legal term, which all people with a sense of perspective found offensive, given that in those days, real pirates were responsible for fucking murdering people as opposed to diddling someone out of the odd coin. Anyone who had a relative or friend/partner murdered by pirates would be justly offended by a bunch of pencil-pushers trying to equate their lost sales as being tantamount to murder of loved ones.

            But that's what stuck - as grossly distorted as that equation is. (Probably because the often-anarchist crackers and rippers of digital media embraced being associated with the now-romanticised image of pirates as lovable rogues as opposed to ruthless, murderous psychopaths.)

            It STILL isn't the legal term in most countries.

        The reason theft is reviled in civilized society is because the owner is deprived of their property. The thief not only gains, but the owner loses.

        In piracy, the infringer gains, but the owner doesn't lose... at least. Not in a measurable way. They lose the potential of a sale, but that isn't concrete.

        The reason you will hear executives and lobbyists refer to stealing is because they want to associate the crime with the far more damaging theft than the more benign 'copying' that is actually occuring.

        It's insidious and manipulative and people are falling for it everywhere.

          I love how people try to sugar coat it. It is exactly the same as fair evasion , you are getting a service for free that someone is putting out there that costs them do provide it.

          No matter which way you want to play with the words , you are effectively stealing property. If Bathurst isnt lucky enough to get a Gucci store , is it OK for someone to make exact replicas of Guccis clothing and handbags and sell it in Bathurst ?

            Conversely, I hate how people try to ignore context and perspective and degrees of damage under the pre-text of, "THE LAW IS THE LAW." It's utterly moronic.

            What sugar-coating?
            Theft denies someone access to their property. Copying denies them the opportunity to sell it to the person who did the copying. MAYBE. (Pirates frequently cite 'try before you buy', which rules that 'harm' argument out.) The owner can still sell it to someone else, because they still have possession of it. Thieves deny the owner the ability to sell it because the owner doesn't have it anymore.

            They're not even close.

            Conflating the two is the hyper-reactionary whining of someone who doesn't feel the punishment is serious enough.

            That's like comparing doing 110km/h in a 100 zone to doing 200km/h in a 100 zone. They're both illegal, but there are degrees of difference which the law very sensibly recognizes. 200 qualifies you for 'reckless driving' charges and jail. 110? A fine.

            Also, other factors ARE considered.

            For example, it's illegal to punch someone in the face. But if they're discriminating against you by refusing you service, calling your mother a whore, and using racial epithets, then those factors will be taken into consideration in sentencing. In some cases, if you can convince them that you BELIEVED (and that any other reasonable person would believe in similar circumstances) that you were at risk (even if you weren't) they actually count as provocation enough to render the assault justified and the charges dismissed. Go look it up.

            Context matters.
            So yes. The provocation the Australian public may be experiencing from US content providers and the exploitative may not be enough to justify it as LEGAL, but if ever treated analogously to other laws, it would certainly be enough to mitigate the sentence and earn the provocateurs a stern warning from the judge that repeated instances of this behaviour will actually see further cases thrown out.

            Last edited 07/05/14 2:31 pm

              So basically you are still excusing the unlawful.

              By your reasoning it would be OK to go to a brothel , and if the prostitute doesnt have any other customers waiting , you could have an hour with her then refuse to pay as it didnt cost her any other income.

                Wow. I hope you aren't allowed outside with that kind of logic. Talk about extremes of false equivalency.

                I don't know why I'm bothering, so this is the last attempt to point out AGAIN that I am not saying that it 'should be OK' or 'should be legal'. I am saying that the crime being committed is not only an order of magnitude less impactful than the 'victim' claims, and that the 'victim' is bringing it upon themselves with their behaviour. Any other crime where a victim so openly and repeatedly provokes to the point of seeming to SEEK OUT aggressors, they would be strongly advised to change their behaviour.

                It's illegal to rob a house, but if the home-owner INSISTS on leaving their blinds drawn where the entire neighbourhood can see a plethora of valuables and an unlocked, unattended, open front door, then the police are going to be severely unimpressed at how difficult the home-owner is making their job. It's still illegal for people to walk in and take the gold, but there's probably a pretty damn powerful case for provocation.

                It is very reasonable to expect that people do not go out of their way to make themselves a target.

                However, content providers and distributors are currently going out of their way to make themselves a target.
                But instead of being told to smarten up and stop inviting trouble like any other citizen would for any other similarly-reckless/provocative behaviour, they're being pandered to by the politicians.

                My ideal world is not one of rampant, unchecked piracy with content purveyors fuming over it. My ideal world is one where content purveyors engage with the modern reality and their customers, and bow to market forces instead of what we're seeing, which is them attempting to force the market to behave how they want.

                Last edited 07/05/14 10:06 pm

                To simplify:
                Yes. Content providers have 'the right' to charge whatever they like, and refuse to sell to whoever they want, in whatever timeframe they want.

                In places like the US, you would also have 'the right' to go move into a neighbourhood with a strong ethnic population, then under the protection of Free Speech, spread racist slurs against that ethnicity, expressing with legal vulgarities how much you don't like them and what kind of opinions and notions you have on their genetics.

                How do you think exercising that 'legal right' would work out for you? Do you think it would be sensible, or morally justifiable?

                That's effectively what's happening here. They're exercising their 'legal right' to discriminate against us, manipulate our markets and exploit the goodwill and wallets of those willing to obey the law. All in a circumstance where it is trivially simple for a vast number of individuals to illegally express their disapproval. This is not sensible or morally justifiable behaviour from content providers and they shouldn't be pandered to for their self-serving recklessness.

                Last edited 07/05/14 10:42 pm

                  No what they are doing is running a company and trying to make a profit , and people are circumventing that ability for them.

                  A show like GOT is the absolute cream of the crop , it is a show that brings in the masses. I dont see a problem with Foxtel getting it exclusively. If you want to watch it you get Foxtel or Folxtel go. If you dont feel like paying that much for then wait for it on DVD or Blu Ray. There is no excuses for pirating it other than you want it now for free rather than paying for it or waiting.

          What is this action called under Australian IP law?

            I haven't researched it thoroughly enough to say with certainty, but I think the term for the action is 'copyright infringement'. Maybe piracy? If you were going to start researching it, I'd recommend you start with 'copyright infringement'.

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