Posts Tagged ‘illegal downloading’

Lady Gaga Brings Down the State Department… Sort Of

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

Lady Gaga has gotten political when it comes to the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, but her biggest impact is now in foreign policy where her music played an unlikely role in the leak of over a quarter million sensitive State Department cables.

The website WikiLeaks posted more than 250,000 leaked diplomatic cables from the State Department this week, sending shock waves around the world. And it’s thanks in part to Lady Gaga.

These diplomatic cables, communications to and from diplomats, military staff, and State Department officials, detail the inner workings of the United States’ diplomacy and deal what one official called an “epic blow” to the American diplomacy. Although the cables do not reveal startling secrets that would satisfy conspiracy theorists, they do give “an unprecedented look at back-room bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats,” said the New York Times.

The US military believes the cable leaks can be traced to a former intelligence analyst, 22-year-old Bradley Manning. Manning is scheduled to face a court martial sometime next year and is charged with unauthorized downloads of classified material.

According to a chatlog between Manning and a hacker, a Lady Gaga CD was used to obtain the cables. “”I would come in with music on a CD-RW labeled with something like ‘Lady Gaga’ … erase the music … then write a compressed split file. No one suspected a thing … [I] listened and lip-synched to Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history,” the chatlog read.

“Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public … Everywhere there’s a US post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed. Worldwide anarchy in CSV format … It’s beautiful, and horrifying,” Manning added.

Outraged lawmakers are calling for WikiLeaks to be shut down immediately, saying that the leaks are an attack on national security, and it’s not as if the government doesn’t know how to shut down sites. Last month, Department of Homeland Security shut down over 70 websites for copyright infringements. Among the sites that were seized were illegal downloading sites where users could pirate Lady Gaga music for free.

music piracy

The Slow Downfall of Illegal Downloads

Written by Jim Dalrymple on . Posted in Music, Tech

Earlier this fall, I decided to get Arcade Fire’s latest album The Suburbs. Like everyone, I get more and more music online, but in this case, I also thought maybe I’d go in to a record store and pick up an actual CD. It’d be nice, I considered, to have a physical copy, and the smell of a CD booklet is certainly nostalgic. After procrastinating my record store outing for weeks, however, I finally gave up and bought the album on iTunes.In retrospect, what surprises me about this whole experience is that I didn’t illegally download the album. In fact, I didn’t even consider it. Though I’m not ethically opposed to pirating media — I’ve done a fair share of it in the past and believe it has a legitimate place in the consumer music ecosystem — the thought just didn’t really cross my mind this time around. What’s more, some significant evidence suggests that I’m not alone, and that people are increasingly turning — if not yet stampeding — to legal channels to get their music. (Slate tech writer and NPR contributor Farhad Manjoo discusses some of these trends here.)
So why are my downloading habits changing? Why might everyone else’s be slowly changing too? Some in the media industry might point to the huge lawsuits the record labels occasionally bring — and win — against music pirates. Manjoo also points out in the article linked above that the download-now-use-later approach to music is starting to feel outdated in a streaming world. Or maybe everyone just realized that downloading was wrong.