By Collin Allen

"Long Tail" Pirates

October 19, 2005

The Wall Street Journal has a great article on Jon Johansen, detailing the man behind software that, among other things, allows you to decrypt DVDs and un-protect purchased iTunes Music Store songs.

At the age of 15, Mr. Johansen wrote a computer program that allowed users to copy DVDs. Then he posted it on the Internet. A Norwegian private school awarded him a prize for making an outstanding contribution to society. The Norwegian government indicted him.

In the interview, Jon argues that “the biggest film pirates mass produce DVDs using the same equipment the industry uses, not his software program.” What about the long tail of pirates? Could the sheer volume of amateur DVD-R pirates actually outweigh the volume output by “professional” pirates that use pressing factories?

In any event, I’d like to thank Jon for his continued efforts in giving digital media rights back to the consumers, who continually get the short end of the stick from Hollywood.