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Piracy The Almighty Buck Idle

Campaign Urges People To Send MPAA and RIAA Copied Currency 413

Posted by samzenpus
from the counterfeiting-equipment-not-included dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In response to the still-raging MPAA & RIAA, a kind of reverse piracy campaign has arisen. The "Send Them Your Money" campaign urges pirates and landlubbers alike to send scanned images of American currency to these agencies. According to the campaign's webpage, 'They've made it very clear that they consider digital copies to be just as valuable as the original.' The operation gained fame via sites like Reddit and Tumblr, inspiring citizens of other countries to send their legal tender to the MPAA and RIAA."
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Campaign Urges People To Send MPAA and RIAA Copied Currency

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  • Genius. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Severus Snape (2376318) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:14PM (#39366507)
    I think I might do the same.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think I might do the same.

      Yes, it's genius. Clearly this is the same thing, because copies of money are identical to the original and can be used the same. Oh, wait... I just realized that this analogy is complete bullshit invented by a moron.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by NatasRevol (731260)

        That's kinda the point.

        That you missed.

        Now who's the moron?

        • Re:Genius. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Score Whore (32328) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:34PM (#39366925)

          I don't think he did miss the point. A digital bit-for-bit copy of a movie has almost the same value as the original dvd/bluray/stream. On the other hand a photocopied/scanned/printed copy of a dollar bill has zero value. Not even the people who are pushing this idea believe the equivalency proposed. If they did they would be perfectly happy with receiving photocopied cash as pay for their day jobs. Or they would be willing to receive 4 gigabyte streams of random bits in lieu of actual copies of movies, as long as the titles of the files were correct. Neither of these are true, so this whole thing is bunk.

          • Re:Genius. (Score:5, Informative)

            by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:50PM (#39367251) Journal

            A digital bit-for-bit copy of a movie has almost the same value as the original dvd/bluray/stream

            Or more. After all, it's probably going to be easier to transcode and use if it isn't on a medium where the reader enforced DRM. Playing back a ripped DVD has several advantages over playing back the original. For example, if I pause the movie for a few minutes and the disk spins down, I get a stutter when I resume with the DVD. I don't with the ripped version, even if it's a bitwise copy. If the machine goes into power-saving mode, the player needs to reauthenticate with the drive, and often fails so the movie skips back to the start with a DVD. It doesn't with the ripped version, even with the CSS intact, because the encryption is handled entirely in software. So, from the perspective of a user, the copy is more valuable...

            • Re:Genius. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:22PM (#39367869)

              A digital bit-for-bit copy of a movie has almost the same value as the original dvd/bluray/stream

              Or more. After all, it's probably going to be easier to transcode and use if it isn't on a medium where the reader enforced DRM. Playing back a ripped DVD has several advantages over playing back the original. For example, if I pause the movie for a few minutes and the disk spins down, I get a stutter when I resume with the DVD. I don't with the ripped version, even if it's a bitwise copy. If the machine goes into power-saving mode, the player needs to reauthenticate with the drive, and often fails so the movie skips back to the start with a DVD. It doesn't with the ripped version, even with the CSS intact, because the encryption is handled entirely in software. So, from the perspective of a user, the copy is more valuable...

              Bingo, a DRM free version of movie has more value than the corresponding DVD/Blu-ray version.
              I mean when you have people spending on recordable blu-rays that cost more than a pressed blu-ray you know that what the MPAA is legally offering is so crippled as to be less valuable than a pirate copy.
              A ripped blu-ray film I can watch on any HD screen or computer monitor. There is no HDCP not contend with. I can transcode to whatever format I wish and use on any media player. And I can think of many more uses.
              The time when the MPAA shouted jump and stupid masses of people gladly threw out perfectly functioning equipment to replace it with time limited revokable hardware is at an end. The pirates are effectively offering a superior product.
              Ethics aside, why should one be stupid enough to be ass fucked by the MPAA ? Your nice blu-ray player that you spend 300 $ on ? After 2-3 years no more firmware updates so new movies won't play because of updated revocation lists. This is not a good business model for consumers. Piracy is a good thing for the consumer at least until those holywood dickheads start smelling the coffee. Drm free files with watermark of personal information. The way mp3 files are sold on itunes. Anything less and it is a non starter at least for me.

            • Re:Genius. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@ g m a i l.com> on Thursday March 15, 2012 @08:16PM (#39372243) Journal

              And THIS is why I have NO problem with pirates or piracy, because its a classic case of the free market routing around damage. The same thing happens with tangible goods when you have a black market. in this case people are willing to pay X amount for a thing that does Y, they won't provide it, so somebody else does, just that simple. My dad has an Nbox media tank, that thing is perfect for him, but legally there isn't a single thing it can play, nothing. it is allowed to exist ONLY because of piracy, because the MPAA refuse to simply sell an .avi and according to DMCA you can't even rip a DVD into a format that it'll read.

              So yet again we have media cartels holding up innovation, or did everyone forget how they fought tooth and nail against VCRs, going so far as to call them "The Boston Strangler" and delayed them in court? or how they blocked DAT and kept it from becoming anything but studio recording equipment? How about slowing down MP3 players for 2 years with the Rio case? And now we have the cartels blocking what should be the most obvious next step, the media tank. There should be NO reason why people like my dad couldn't just go to amazon, whip out a CC, download an .avi onto a flashstick, and plug it in to have a movie. So instead of giving them the money all we can do is route around the damage yet again, just as we did when they tried to push DRM crapped WMAs over MP3, and now instead of embracing this new tech they are offering these DRM infected files with movies now that are nothing but a series of flaming hoops to jump...or you can just go to TPB, which do you think folks will choose?

          • Re:Genius. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Znork (31774) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:58PM (#39367413)

            So, would you accept digital copies of movies as payment for your day job? Maybe 5000 copies of a movie on iTunes a year?

            Oh, wait, you can't sell those. Seems they're worth exactly as much as a photocopy of a dollar bill...

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by mhajicek (1582795)
              What most people fail to realize about this is that the analogy is backwards. You're starting with the assumption that a dollar has value, but it's just a fancy serialized copy on a piece of paper. It has no actual value. Way back when the dollar was backed by metal it had the value of that metal, but no longer. Paying with dollars is like paying with multiple copies of the same song.
              • Re:Genius. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Score Whore (32328) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @03:11PM (#39368627)

                Dollars actually have a value -- just as every state controlled currency has a value -- they are required for you to pay your taxes. You cannot send a bushel of corn to the IRS on tax day. This means that the corn producer needs dollar bills. So people who need corn need to have dollar bills. And so on.

                • by xQx (5744)
                  A dollar has value, but it is a specific kind of value. Just as a bushel of corn has value, but of a specific kind.

                  Let me demonstrate the worthlessness of a dollar... Imagine you have a billion dollars, but you will never come into contact with another person ever again.

                  Now, which would you prefer in this situation? A billion dollars, or a bushel of corn?

                  The value of a dollar is this: It is a tool that makes other people do things for you.

                  But, It only has value as long as people will perform for the dollar
          • Re:Genius. (Score:5, Informative)

            by Capitaine (2026730) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:09PM (#39367627)
            MPAA and RIAA often argue that piracy is theft. The whole point of this campaign is to illustrate the difference between piracy and theft by providing an example of object which copy is worthless while theft isn't.
          • Re:Genius. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:52PM (#39368343) Homepage Journal

            A digital bit-for-bit copy of a movie has almost the same value as the original dvd/bluray/stream.

            It has the same recreational/educational value (depending on the DVD) but your original DVD can be resold. It has monetary value. A digital copy, whether iTunes or Pirate Bay, has no monetary value at all, just like a photocopy of a five dollar bill.

          • Re:Genius. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Fned (43219) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @03:06PM (#39368559) Journal

            I don't think he did miss the point. A digital bit-for-bit copy of a movie has almost the same value as the original dvd/bluray/stream.

            Yeah, "zero".

            If you make a million copies of a movie you bought for a dollar, are you now a millionaire?

            Of course you aren't. One copy is worth the same as a million copies.

            There's only one number in mathematics that retains the same value no matter what you multiply it by.

            That's the fundamental issue, now: creation of the work is still valuable, and access to the work is still valuable, but copies are no longer valuable at all. Guess which of those three things copyright gives exclusive privelege to?

            Remember, they're not selling creation (except on Kickstarter), or access (except at the movie theater). Most of what they're selling is COPIES. Absolutely worthless copies. Which people only actually buy for three reasons:

            1) They want to fund creation and understand that buying copies is the only way to do that under the current stupid business model.
            or
            2) They're worried about getting caught doing something illegal
            or
            3) They're not very bright.

            The point of this campaign is to point out the total lack of value that digial copies have. People who don't get this won't get it, but it's still irrevocably true. Digital copies cost nothing to make and you lose nothing when you destroy them. Xeroxed money is actually worth MORE, since it costs something to make and you lose something when you destroy it.

      • Re:Genius. (Score:5, Funny)

        by neokushan (932374) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:32PM (#39366883)

        I just copied this text from another comment:

        Whoosh!

  • Re: (Score:5, Informative)

    by binarylarry (1338699) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:14PM (#39366511)

    Just make sure your money is slightly bigger than real money or you might end up in Guantanamo bay.

    • Re: (Score:4, Informative)

      by SomePgmr (2021234) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:22PM (#39366661) Homepage

      I was going to say, isn't this a felony?

      Sounds like an easy way to get everyone that opposes you in a whole heap of trouble, all in one hit. So let's not do them any favors, eh?

    • Re: (Score:4, Informative)

      by kimvette (919543) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:24PM (#39366723) Homepage Journal

      That won't work.

      Scan it in, and add in the text in a white box "This is a copy. Not worth the same as the original, is it?"

      Distributing a copy of money, even if the size is different to make it clear it is fake is sometimes considered counterfeit by the secret service, particularly if someone is already gunning for you. If you include a very clear disclaimer on the bill, any case should be thrown out by the courts because it will be obvious there is no intent to pass off your copy as the real deal.

      • Re: (Score:5, Informative)

        by cplusplus (782679) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:31PM (#39366863) Journal
        You can read all the rules about copying money here: Rules For Use [rulesforuse.org]
      • Re: (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Obfuscant (592200) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:55PM (#39367361)

        If you include a very clear disclaimer on the bill, any case should be thrown out by the courts because it will be obvious there is no intent to pass off your copy as the real deal.

        Except that by sending the copy to **AA as "legal tender" and trying to pay for your copy of digital content with it, you are unambiguously showing an intent to pass off the copy as real.

        There was (is?) a guy who hand-draws copies of paper money and uses them to pay for things. He has to be very clear up-front with anyone he deals with, "this is a piece of artwork that I am selling you, if you want to buy it", and then he can use that money to pay for his stuff. If he simply handed it over in exchange for goods he'd be counterfeiting. It doesn't matter how bad the copy is (and his were pretty good), it is still counterfeiting if you try to pass a copy as real.

    • Re: (Score:5, Informative)

      by DanTheStone (1212500) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:26PM (#39366771)
      It shouldn't matter, as long as you're sending them only scans and not printouts. A scan or photograph could not be reasonably considered a counterfeit bill as long as it's not printed. The title and article misleadingly say "copied" bills, but the actual campaign says to send scans and photographs.
    • by meerling (1487879)
      By default it is, it's missing an entire dimension, thickness (or depth) of 0. With no Z, it's just not the same size.
      Fortunately there isn't anything useful on the edges of the money, so you don't really have to worry about scanning that.
      >^_^<
    • Re: (Score:4, Funny)

      by khallow (566160) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:44PM (#39367127)
      Or you could helpfully send a copy of the currency to the Secret Service and report the *IAA for incitement to counterfeiting.
  • by alen (225700) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:15PM (#39366517)

    i keep reading how scanners and copying machines are programmed not to scan or copy money

    • by shippers (1100005)
      Just scanned a £12 note with no problem!
      • by Dark$ide (732508)

        Just scanned a £12 note with no problem!

        And you're now as guilty of infringing the Bank of England's copyright as I was when I scanned that 9 bob note.

        Seriously the tenner in my wallet does have "© the Governor and Company of the Bank of England 2000" printed on the back of it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:23PM (#39366697)

      I actually worked for a copier company once upon a time.
      When users tried to make copies of money the copiers would display an error code and lock the machine until a technician was called at which time we were "required" to inform the manufacturer and the authorities.

      We only ever ran into this issue twice. Once at an office which though it would be funny to make copies of dollar bills with the employees photos on them and another time at a police station which needed to make copies of counterfeit bills for use as evidence in a trial.

    • by mindwhip (894744)

      Like cake, that has always been a lie. Along with the embedded fingerprint that is supposedly able to trace a copy back to a specific machine.

      However it is very hard to make a passable copy using these devices, even the very high quality ones, as the paper (often actually a fabric and not paper) and inks (colour and texture) used, level of fine detail and other features such as metal woven strips make it almost impossible to scan or print without using a wet ink printing press.

      • by v1 (525388) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:44PM (#39367113) Homepage Journal

        ike cake, that has always been a lie. Along with the embedded fingerprint that is supposedly able to trace a copy back to a specific machine.

        No, this is very real in color photocopiers and color laser printers. They tend to place a copy of their serial number at regular intervals on color printouts, in such a faint yellow that it's impossible for the human eye to see. This makes any color printout traceable to the machine that printed it. Commonly in use by law enforcement for tracking things like death threats, ransom notes, etc.

        Google for "hidden yellow serial number" and find lots of information from reputable sources. First hit I glanced at just now is from PC World [pcworld.com]. Good quote from there, Peter Crean, a senior research fellow at Xerox, says his company's laser printers, copiers and multifunction workstations, such as its WorkCentre Pro series, put the "serial number of each machine coded in little yellow dots" in every printout. The millimeter-sized dots appear about every inch on a page, nestled within the printed words and margins. "It's a trail back to you, like a license plate," Crean says.

        No tinfoil hat necessary, this one's for real. Last time I looked this up I ran across a technician that works at one of those in R&D telling how every one of their color copiers has a dedicated board inline in the image processing chain whose only job is to "insert" the serial number into the image stream before it goes to the imager.

    • by neokushan (932374) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:37PM (#39366977)

      Yeah I tried that once, it said something had performed an illegal operation and my whole PC shut down!

  • Haven't they found proprietary code/hardware in scanners that obscures images of money ?

    I would think that a "law abiding" group like the MPAA/RIAA would report people to the Treasury department for counterfeiting .

    • by g0bshiTe (596213)
      That assumes someone is dumb enough to do it and send their address on the envelope. I often send stuff that I want to get to a destination with the same return address as the sending address.
  • by gknoy (899301) <gknoy@nOsPaM.anasazisystems.com> on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:16PM (#39366539)

    Could I send them a drawing of a spider instead?

  • by na1led (1030470) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:16PM (#39366555)
    When you deposit money in a bank, it's put into digital space. So what's the difference?
    • What is digitized is the accounting ledger, not the money. The record that your money is deposited. Even when you purchase or pay on line, it is still just the ledger. The paper money still exists.
  • Just an FYI (Score:5, Informative)

    by bigredradio (631970) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:18PM (#39366579) Homepage Journal
    You might want to think about it first. http://www.secretservice.gov/money_law.shtml [secretservice.gov]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Scanned images are not printouts. The summary is misleading. A scan (digital), which they are recommending you send, would not be considered a counterfeit bill.
    • by gknoy (899301)

      Printed reproductions, including photographs of paper currency, checks, bonds, postage stamps, revenue stamps, and securities of the United States and foreign governments (except under the conditions previously listed) are violations of Title 18, Section 474 of the United States Code.

      If you never print it, does it still violate the code? Something to ask the local treasury department, I guess.

      • Re:Just an FYI (Score:5, Interesting)

        by microcars (708223) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:54PM (#39367329) Homepage

        or just ask your accounting department what they think. *cough*

        Years ago I used to work in the film biz and we did a good number of commercials for the State Lottery.
        There was always a call for lots of "money" floating about in various forms.
        We got the most realistic "fake" money that was available from The Earl Hays Press [theearlhayspress.com] in California.
        Their website does not list it but I'm pretty sure they still provide it. It looks pretty real unless you compare it to another "real" bill.
        Once, when I was visiting, someone there told me that the current incarnation was as far as they could go. They had apparently made something a bit more realistic, the Secret Service decided it was "too" good and confiscated the plates.

        Anyways, for some jobs when we only needed a few bills to film for something we STILL had to use "fake" money.
        The accounting dept people at the Ad Agency would always demand it to cover their asses. They read the rules as "any photographic reproduction" to apply to filming money so it could appear on a TV set as being involved in counterfitting.
        So then I would bring out the "best" fake money available and they would complain that it did not look real enough. (???)
        I once did this dance back and forth on a job and finally relented and showed them the most advanced "fake" money available for movie use, -it just became available this month-!
        It was a real $100 bill. They fell for it and filmed it.
        No one went to jail or lost their job.

    • by Amouth (879122)

      "Anyone who manufactures a counterfeit U.S. coin in any denomination above five cents is subject to the same penalties as all other counterfeiters. "

      so we can make pennies and nickels all we want????

  • You'll be accused of counterfeiting.

    Of course the best option is to just throw the letter in the trash. I doubt the MPAA/RIAA will come after you, since they are just using a shotgun approach to extort money from the millions of uploaders they have in their database. They are hoping to dupe you into paying $5000. (Like the nigerian lottery scammers.)

    Oh and send some real money to the people who deserve it. Like JMS of Babylon 5 or the Writer/Artist of the Walking Dead, because they certainly aren't gett

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:22PM (#39366667) Journal
      Apparently it's ok as long as:

      The copy has to be one-sided
      The copy has to be the wrong size. It has to be at least 75% smaller or 150% larger than an actual bill
      You have to destroy the negatives, graphic files, or “digitized storage mediums” after their final use

      INAAL so if you go to jail after following this advice, I'll just laugh at you. But i read it on the internet.
    • by g0bshiTe (596213)
      Anyone that had anything to do with Babylon 5 should be sending me money. Though I do agree with supporting artists that are getting raped by the corporate giants. That being said the remark about Babylon 5 was sarcasm. I think they never show profit cause they have more a cult following. I've been reading Walking Dead long before a show was even talked about.
  • What a bunch of genius's. Now, instead of just being a pirate and having the RIAA & MPAA after you, you can also be a counterfeiter and have the feds after you.

  • Given that the **AA are likely to sue even if the filename sounds like one of their movies/songs, and given that mp3/ogg etc. are lossy codecs, you don't have to send them a scan of a bill at all. Just scrawl "Ten Dollars" on a piece of paper, scan it, and send it in.

    That should have exactly the same effect.

  • FTFA (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:24PM (#39366717)

    “Now wait,” you say, “isn’t copying money illegal?” Not if you do it right. Reproducing images of money (in the United States at least) is perfectly legal under three conditions:

            The copy has to be one-sided
            The copy has to be the wrong size. It has to be at least 75% smaller or 150% larger than an actual bill
            You have to destroy the negatives, graphic files, or “digitized storage mediums” after their final use

  • In the US at least it's a federal crime to copy or scan and print (potentially even just scan) US currency, so this is one of those lame things you really don't want to do.

    You can end up with a visit from the FBI and potentially even prosecution if someone simply finds your copies in the trash and reports it.

    Just fooling around or having no criminal intent probably will not protect you, and the RIAA/MPAA will probably be more than happy to report you if you mail copies to them.

    G.

  • Make sure you put a mark on it as well as change the size so people can't mistake it as being real, even if you think it is obvious it is a copy. The secret service (in charge of counterfeiting as well as protecting the pres') doesn't have a sense of humour in these matters.

    On a side note, I read a story outlining one of the most successful counterfeiters ever. When they arrested him he was an old man. He'd been printing and passing off one dollar bills and five dollar bills for a few decades before he was

  • Funny, but I expect they won't even get it!
  • Doesn't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:28PM (#39366813)

    A digital copy of a music file still has inherent value to the recipient, while a copy of a bank note does not - all you are doing is showing them you are as petulant as you consider them to be.

    The value of a music file is in the content, not the form of the file while the value of a bank note is in the ability to exchange it for other things, not the art work on the note - copies work fine in one case, and not at all in the other.

    • by Dan667 (564390)
      the riaa and mpaa refuse to adapt their business model to the current environment. Anytime they want they could adopt a model like Valve's Steam Gaming Service. People behaving as irrationally as the mpaa and riaa is actually a good tactic.
    • Re:Doesn't work (Score:5, Insightful)

      by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:44PM (#39367111) Journal
      It is obviously a symbolic protest, not meant to act as payment. Think of it as abstraction of complaining. Does that help?
      • by artor3 (1344997)

        No one's suggesting that the people behind this campaign are actually trying to pay with photocopied money. But they are trying to suggest that copies of music & movies hold no more value than copies of money, and that that makes their actions okay. It's a childish, idiotic argument.

    • by Walterk (124748)

      Actually, on British Pound notes, it specifically states: "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of x" [bankofengland.co.uk]. Therefore, a digital copy should have exactly the same value. It's a promise of some money.

  • by trongey (21550) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:39PM (#39367025) Homepage

    Just send them a digital copy of the copyrighted material. It has exactly the same value as the one you kept.
    Heck, send them two or thee copies. That way they make a bigger profit. They'll like that.

  • Be careful (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Vrtigo1 (1303147) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:42PM (#39368197)
    Lots of newer copiers and MFPs that do color scanning will actually lock themselves out if they think you're trying to scan and/or copy money. We didn't know that until we tried to scan a $100 bill to use as part of a PowerPoint presentation, and then had to wait 4 days to get the necessary unlock codes to make our copier function again.

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