Did The Parent Companies Of Marvel And DC Create The Piracy They Now Condemn?

There's a conspiracy theory going around courtesy of one Mike Mozart that alleges that the very backers of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) legislation actually created the very piracy they are now trying to combat, as some nefarious money making/power grabbing scam.

And while I think that is a little too much in the direction of David Icke, and the video promoting this theory comes over like a hectoring humourless Bill Hicks and makes me want to throw a bucket of baked beans over him, there is at its core, something very interesting and notable.

The charge that the vast majority of pirate downloading software, BitTorrent, Kazaa, Morpheus, Limewire and so much more, was distributing by CNET websites like Download.com, owed by CBS, which profited from advertising revenue from this distribution.

And that such software was also made available using CNET by, amongst others, Disney's Go and then-AOL Time Warner's AOL pages, also benefitting from said advertising.

Clear in the knowledge that this software, while completely legal, could and would be used for downloading illegal content. Including one program that explicitly searched Pirate Bay's listings. And had Shelby Bonnie was on the board of CNET and Warner Music Group at the same time. And Mike Mathews has plenty of screencaps of those items being offered by the various companies, many of whom are on the SOPA list.

Mike sees this as a big conspiracy, to induce people to break the law so that they could be prosecuted and the law changed to give copyright owners more power over the internet. I see it more as left hands and right hands not knowing what the other is doing, and not actually caring.

But what it most definitely does, is paints many of those supporting SOPA as corporate hypocrites. And that includes both Marvel's owner Disney and DC's owner, Time Warner. And calls for these companies to be prosecuted for distributing software in the knowledge it would be used for piracy, rather than focus on the end user.

It's a compelling case… if you can get past the conspiracy.

 

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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