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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Byte Me: 7 Sep 2012

Byte Me: 7 Sep 2012

When it comes to a flagrant disregard for intellectual property laws in the pursuit of free entertainment, we’ve come a long way. No longer must we spend half the day uploading 50 Metallica tracks to an FTP server through the shrieking sounds of our 33.6k dial-up modem, just to earn enough download credits to score a coveted Macarena remix.

At this point, even though the day draws ever nearer when the technological singularity is reached and the machines rise up to enslave us all, if this is the price of watching the latest Breaking Bad six hours after it aired on AMC in the States, we’re willing to greet our new computer overlords with fanfare.

Belatedly alert to the optics of suing 12-year-old girls, and having failed to effectively litigate against internet service providers, for a while it looked like the entertainment behemoths had thrown in the towel on piracy.

Any perception of inertia on the part of record labels and movie studios was dashed this week. On Sunday, Khmer440 broke news of the arrest in Phnom Penh of Gottfrid Svartholm, co-founder of everyone’s favourite torrent sharing site, The Pirate Bay.

After skipping a court appearance back in Sweden, where the site is still hosted, Svartholm was sentenced in absentia to a year in prison. While the 27-year-old’s residence in the city over the last few years was not exactly the best kept secret, he was rarely spotted in public, opting instead for a Howard Hughes existence in a riverside penthouse on Sisowath Quay.

On a completely unrelated note, Sweden was in the local news again this week after the ambassador signed a two year, US$59 million grant to fund development programs in Cambodia on Wednesday.

Though pornography lovers and obsessive-compulsives shut-ins halfway through downloading the entire series of M*A*S*H might be crying into their terabyte hard drives this week, we shouldn’t lose sight of all the things to celebrate in this affair. After all, Cambodia has once again lived up to its unrivalled reputation as a firm guarantor of copyright and an ardent supporter of the mechanisms of international justice.

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