Barry the Inaccurate

Updated Tuesday December 27, 2009 at 12:58 AM

At about 12:30 AM, Tuesday December 29th, Barry sent the following in Twitter:


Post Edited: Toying with funny math to downplay Canada’s role as a piracy haven ( 32 minutes ago from WP to Twitter

He fixed most of the errors that I pointed out. Curiously he didn’t credit me for spotting them. I wonder why….


 Barry Sookman’s most recent post titled Toying with funny math to downplay Canada’s role as a piracy haven is, at best, inaccurate. Since I’m suffering from a nasty head cold I’m only going to cover the most noticeable errors – and then go back to suffering.

In paragraph three, Barry claims that Mininova is down. A quick visit to the site shows that he is in error, that Mininova is still in operation. He also claims that the court ordered it shut down. This is incorrect. The court ordered that certain torrents be removed. Nothing more. Nothing less.

In paragraph four, Barry claims that a court ordered that the The Pirate Bay be shut down. He does not mention that an appeal has been filed. In a later paragraph he claims that The Pirate Bay will be shut down shortly, however the shut down order is on hold until the appeal is complete. To the best of my knowledge a court date has not been picked as yet, and since the shut down cannot take effect until after the appeal, his claim that it will be shut down shortly is specious at best.

So if he is so wrong on those two things, why do we have any reason to believe him when he posts the following quotes:

Graboid: “Graboid Video is completely legal in Canada.”

Where exactly Barry gets this from is unclear. Graboid is headquartered in the Barbados according to their site, and make no such claims. I’d never heard of Graboid before – not that it would do my much good anyways, since it appears to only support Windows, and well, you have to be suicidal to run Windows on a machine that is connected to the internet in my opinion.

PeerGuardian: “Important Technical and Legal Notes: no masking of your address is 100% foolproof. At the same time, remember that in any other country outside of Canada, downloading copyrighted movies and songs puts you at legal risk for copyright infringement prosecution. Hundreds of users in the USA and UK have been fined by the MPAA and RIAA for downloading files in the last three years. Only in Canada is P2P file sharing tolerated legally.”

This appears pretty damning, until you realize that Barry grabbed it from, and that he did a bit of editing (don’t believe me or him – read it yourself). There is nothing like this in the Peer Guardian FAQ, or for that matter on the entire site that I could find.

IWannaDownload: “Canadian Server Location = Completely Legal”

Again, sounds damning, until you try to find those words on Check out the FAQ and confirm for yourself what I say. It’s not there. So where did Barry get it from?

TorrentPortal: “Unless you live in Canada, downloading copyrighted material via P2P may put you at risk for a lawsuit. Canadian users are currently shielded from P2P lawsuits. Canada signed the 1997 World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties, but has not yet ratified them by enacting their provisions into domestic law.”

Wow. These words actually appear on the TorrentPortal website. Shocking. However this is a partial quote, in full it reads (the text missing from Barry’s article is in bold):

TorrentPortal is like Google™ in that it only links to .torrent metafiles and takes a cache of such files. None of the data transferred by or stored on TorrentPortal servers is content linked to by .torrent files.
Unless you live in Canada, downloading copyrighted material via P2P may put you at risk for a lawsuit. Canadian users are currently shielded from P2P lawsuits. Canada signed the 1997 World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties, but has not yet ratified them by enacting their provisions into domestic law. Recently there has been class-action suits filed against users who copy and distribute copyrighted material without regard for the law. The MPAA, RIAA and the governments of both England and Australia have taken several thousand users to court demanding thousands of dollars. Your ISP may, on their own judgment, give their logs of your downloading activity to those who request it. In those situations, the more you download and share, the more risk you put yourself at.
Please keep all this in mind before you use any portion of TorrentPortal. 

Know your local laws and be sure you are following them.

“Fans who share music are not thieves or pirates. Sharing music has been happening for decades.” – CMCC (Canadian Music Creators Coalition)
(Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Chantal Kreviazuk, Sum 41, Stars, Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace), Dave Bidini (Rheostatics), Billy Talent, Sloan, and more!)

By only quoting part of the words, Barry is able to make it sound damning. When you read the rest, including the quote from the Canadian Music Creators Coalition, who are the very people that Barry pretends to represent, it sounds far less damning. And of course what you have is the opinion of the person who wrote it. Lawsuits over distribution of music in Canada happen regularly, and are covered in the media including the New York PostZDNet, Vancouver Sun, Semi Accurate, and others. Under our current laws lawsuits are obviously possible – so why is Barry saying that they aren’t? Possibly because the lawsuit I’m using for an example is by an artist against the CRIA member companies. Michael Geist has claimed that Barry is a CRIA Lobbyist. If he is, this may explain why he ignores the proof that lawsuits abour copyright infringement do happen in Canada.

BTJunkie: “BTJunkie has moved to Canada for legal reasons.” -Wikipedia, BTJunkie, (BTJunckie still has at least one server operating in Canada. Adding it to the list would really give Canada 5 of the top ten.)

Barry appears to have decided that Wikipedia is accurate, since it suits his purposes. Me being me, I checked the reference link on Wikipedia, and it leads to a site run by a company called RobTex. RobTex has automated tools which allow you to look up the name servers for a site. Since one of the name servers is in Canada, Barry is assuming that at least one BT Junkie server is in Canada. This is not a safe assumption, the location of the name server has no relation to the physical location of the server it points to.

IsoHunt: “In February of 2006, isoHunt and TorrentSpy were the recipients of a copyright infringement complaint from the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). TorrentSpy eventually shut down and was forced to accept a $100 million settlement; however, because isoHunt is situated in Canada, it has been able to hold off the powers that be for significantly longer.”, “isoHunt Celebrates 6 Years Online”, January 5, 2008.

Here Barry thinks that quoting an online article gives him credence. However considering the lack of accuracy in his own articles, how can we tell that this article is accurate, and in several places it doesn’t appear to be. However IsoHunt is definitely located in Canada. The operator has admitted this. So Barry did get one right.

Now if Barry has any problems with my take on things, I will happily talk to him. But quite frankly his accuracy stinks. I’ve dealt with a lot of lawyers over the years, and I would not hire a lawyer who is this sloppy in his fact checking.

Hell – I’ll call him tomorrow and see what he has to say 🙂

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  1. I stand by my post. The quotes in my blog were collected several months ago, so any deviations could be due to subsequent changes at the sites.

    Barry SOOKMAN

  2. Great blog post! Well done! Maybe Sookman needs to read more on what has not changed, like the facts of this debate:

    UN Rep Speaks out on File Sharing Impact on Music Industry

    Backed up by a recent 2009 report by the UK's PRS for Music showing an increase of 13% in overall revenue within the music industry in the UK (PRS is down will post the link to that report after this weekend), and where the shift in income is currently present quite clearly showing the "Creative Destruction" taking place within the music industry.

    Since Sookman likes wiki here's the wiki def of "Creative Destruction":

    What's happened in a large number of area's is a value chain disconnect. The funding provided by consumer copyright to have the middleman fund artistic talent is drying up, but other areas of each industry have gone up, and if we look at monetizing the networks on whole these industries will be doing much better.

    There are already solutions that have been presented to fix this that will push industry and creative talent to a new age.

    The SAC proposal is an excellent idea, also the work of Gerd Leonhard also needs to be taken into account:

    You can compete with free, you can make it FEEL LIKE FREE!

    While Sookman may put forth that torrent and file sharing sites are the enemy, and how ashamed we all should be, in fact there is evidence to support quite the opposite effect is taking place due to rise in other areas of the effected industries, along with presentable value chains that we are already used to in the traditional market.

    Piracy is Good? Part One

    Piracy is Good? Part Two

    Get your HTML codes here!

    The problem with Mr. Sookman's position is more along the lines of control over that market, and the potential of substantial loss an old monopoly must take eventually due to their misreading of the situation. Artistic talent should be suing their own rights holders for not moving forward and insuring return on investment within the market, rather than patronizing the hand that feeds them.

    In a free economy, monopolies rise and fall, and then give birth to new ones. This is a natural cycle of our economy. Media companies need to understand the market they are now faced with. They've had 10 years to do better for the artistic community, now many are eating kraft dinner, and doing up bathroom concerts on Youtube, because they are not getting the representation they need in the sectors of industry where growth is present.

    A graduated response will not fix this issue at all. Nor will legislation favoring either side. In business you survive by following the market, not forcing the market to come to you!

    Those that can't make money in the media industries online by now, shouldn't be media companies or representing talent in the digital paradigm. Calling Canada out on something like Torrent sites, somehow fails in comparison.

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