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Amazon gets attacked by Pirates of the online variety

December 7th, 2008 at 1:01 PM

News is spreading like wildfire about a new Firefox extension that makes pirating media listed on Amazon easier than ever. The extension, Pirates of the Amazon, detects what you are viewing on Amazon and provides a link to a “free” copy courtesy of Pirate Bay. The plugin embeds a button right into the web page literally providing one click access to a presumably illegal copy. It works with CDs, DVDs, games, and books. The website for the extension is currently offline, most likely due to a crushing amount of traffic from all the publicity. This is not the first plugin to link your web browser to BitTorent files but it is the first one to link the largest online retailer, Amazon, and the largest BitTorent tracker, Pirate Bay. The people behind the extension explain their rationale and claim no affiliation with Pirate Bay, “We are not affiliated with The Pirate Bay, and do not host or even link to any illegal content. This artistic project addresses the topic of current media distribution models vs. current culture and technical possibilities.”  We are not sure that such an extension could be deemed an “artistic project” but we will leave it to you to form your own interpretation of what they mean. Whatever the reason behind the extension, its presence raises bigger questions about the impact of online piracy during a point in time when online retailers are slowly moving towards non-DRM forms of media distribution. Will the presence of this plugin provide fodder for the RIAA and MPAA to further increase their efforts to combat online piracy by imposing filtering methods on ISPs and pushing for more stringent DRM requirements for media distribution ? Sound off in the comments and let us know what you think.

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