It’s time to get the right data on piracy

Laurie Patton writes: Re. “Labor caught out on dodgy piracy data” (yesterday). There’s no serious evidence that “site blocking” eliminates, or even significantly curtails, “piracy”. We have recently had Netflix, Presto and Stan enter the market to provide much of the previously unavailable or hard to access content that was allegedly being downloaded unlawfully. Not to mention the “three strikes” copyright warning code about to be introduced. Surely it would make sense to see if those two initiatives have the desired effect before adopting the site blocking sledgehammer?

The No Man

Richard Middleton writes: Re. “Tony Abbott and the not-so-fine art of saying no” (yesterday). So in Bernard’s insightful analysis, Abbott is really good for nothing positive. In fact he is good for nothing at all, except destroying our future wealth, health and security. This would suggest that he is a faithful active acolyte of the dreadful Leo Strauss, “philosophical figurehead and inspiration” of the neocons, both in the US and now it would seem, here. Watching the train wreck that was the Bush administration, it never occurred that we would be so unlucky, unfortunate or plain dumb, to allow such to happen here. It appears my optimism was sorely misplaced. It will take years to undo the catastrophes this moron has created.

Let us hope that in the future, as he sits on his nice porch, in his enviroproofed(TM) house he is asked by the children of his daughters (you remember, the “hot ones” of his election campaign?), “What did you do to stop the world going to shit, dear grandpappa of ours?” The answer will be lost to future historians, if there be any.

John Kotsopoulos writes: As Bernard Keane has pointed out, Tony Abbott’s  inability to admit error is surpassed only by his inability to prosecute a positive message. Groucho in the 1932 Marx Brothers classic Horse Feathers could have been singing about him:

“I don’t know what they have to say, it makes no difference anyway, whatever it is, I’m against it!

No matter what it is or who commenced it — I’m against it!

Your proposition may be good but let’s have one thing understood, whatever it is, I’m against it!

And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it, I’m against it!

I’m opposed to it, on general principles I’m opposed to it! …. “

On rape allegations against Assange

Agnes Lane writes: Re. “The persecution of Julian Assange is not feminist, it’s political” (yesterday). Felicity Ruby believes that failure to use a condom and rape are “in fundamentally different frames”, and uses this as an excuse to relieve Assange of any charges of sexual misconduct.  Sex without a requested condom still falls under the banner of serious sexual assault, and it is dismissive to claim that these offences are not worthy of pursuing fully, or that pursuing them devalues “real” rape victims. Assange’s actions caused those women considerable distress, so much so that as Felicity herself said, they sought legal means to have him take an STD test. This is not a victimless crime.

She also claims that reluctance on the part of the victims to participate in the case shows that it is political in nature, and shouldn’t be pursued.  Most victims of sexual assault find the criminal proceedings daunting and humiliating, and are poorly supported through the process.  Many withdraw their complaints because of this. In this case, the victims are under extreme media scrutiny and at high risk of being identified against their will.  Rather than use this as an excuse to dismiss the charges, we should aim to improve support for women in this position, to provide them with security and confidence to challenge the men who assault them. I applaud the Swedish prosecution for taking these alleged sexual assaults seriously, and I hope that the victims may find better support than that offered by Felicity Ruby.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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