Not so Shocking Study Finds 97 Percent of BitTorrent Files Illegal
Monday, July 26, 2010 5:33 pm | By Kelsey Zahourek

The Australian based University of Ballarat came out with a study finding that 97 percent of files shared over BitTorrent networks contain infringing content. This really isn’t a huge revelation but does confirm what many have been saying for sometime now.

The study concluded:

Overally, 89.3% of torrents were given a definitive legality. Of those 89.3% of torrents, 99.66% are infringing. If we assume that all of the 16 cases of ambiguous legality are not infringing, we arrive at an overall figure of 97.9% infringing content shared over BitTorrent networks.

The three most shared categories were movies, music, and TV shows and of those files ZERO were found to be shared legally.

I have often written about the harm imposed by illegal downloading on the economy as a whole, but often left out of the equation is the effect on consumers. Networks are being overrun with infringing works delivered via P2P. When I go online and stream a movie or TV show, legally mind you, my user experience is almost exclusively determined by the amount of activity on my ISP. (the series of tubes is not limitless, after all) When someone else on my network is clogging up the system by pirating countless movies or the latest in software, I lose out. Moreover, as is the case with any form of theft, when a company sees a loss in profit due to shoplifting or pirating, they incur those expenses by raising prices on honest consumers.

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Want to Promote Conservation? Protect Property Rights!
Friday, July 23, 2010 12:00 pm | By Anthony Lizan

President Obama recently launched the America's Great Outdoors Initiative, asking for comments on what the administration can do to promote outdoor conservation. From what we’ve seen in the past, whenever the Democrats talk about “conservation,” they’re really asking, “how can we take more land for the federal government?”

If President Obama really wants to promote outdoor conservation, he should create more opportunities for private ownership and respect individual property rights. People who have a vested interest in something, whether it’s land or an iPod, are more likely to take care of it. Land ownership naturally creates incentives to protect the property.

We see examples of this all over the world. Niger for instance, is much greener now because the government allowed citizens to own trees. According to the New York Times,

"From colonial times, all trees in Niger had been regarded as the property of the state, which gave farmers little incentive to protect them…But over time, farmers began to regard the trees in their fields as their property, and in recent years the government has recognized the benefits of that outlook by allowing individuals to own trees. Farmers make money from the trees by selling branches, pods, fruit and bark. Because those sales are more lucrative over time than simply chopping down the tree for firewood, the farmers preserve them."

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Landmark Property Rights Case Comes to an End
Monday, July 19, 2010 3:32 pm | By Anthony Lizan

In what he termed a “bittersweet” victory, the grandson of late property rights advocate, Dorothy English, received a $1.15 million settlement from Multnomah County in Oregon. Mrs. English, the PR icon who bravely fought against government land abuses died at the age of 95, several years before her case could be settled.

The right to use ones property—both physical and intellectual—is a natural right which the Framers gave special protection to in the Constitution. This respect for property has lead America to be the richest and most prosperous country in history. The Framers understood that freedom means nothing if the fruits of ones labor could be expropriated at the whim of a powerful politician or bureaucrat.

Dorothy English understood this too. When she tried multiple times to develop her land, she was denied permits because the government rezoned her property into a protected commercial forest. As PRA noted earlier, the government has a long history of using environmental regulations to effectively seize private property for “public use.” As Mrs. English put it, "My lawyer researched it and found there were 61 regulations against my property—61!" Yet, instead of just lying down, she took action.

English became the face of a popular voter initiative, Measure 37. The Measure forced the government to either waive regulations, or provide compensation to land owners whose property values have decreased because of said regulation. It passed 61% to 39%. English became the first person to file a claim under the new law.

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